Outdoor financials: Outdoor Channel ad campaign costs $750K, plus Wellman, Icelandic Stock Exchange/66°North, Crocs, West Marine

Outdoor Channel ad campaign costs $750K, Wellman files $400 million mixed shelf offering, Icelandic stock market hits icy patch, Crocs names new CFO, Q1 Same-store sales rise for West Marine
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Outdoor Channel ad campaign costs $750K
Outdoor Channel Holdings (Nasdaq: OUTD), owner of The Outdoor Channel, said an advertising campaign, along with ongoing efforts related to carriage agreement negotiations, would cost it $750,000 in the first quarter.

The company said the campaign is part of its "strategic plan to support continued subscriber growth," and included full-page newspaper ads in targeted regions and the launch of www.IWantMyOutdoorChannel.com.

Estimates from Nielsen Media Research show that Outdoor Channel's subscriber base has grown by 1 million since December, and it is now in 26.7 million homes.

Shares of the company's stock surged on news of the subscriber-base growth, rising $1.37, or 12.8 percent, to $12.07 in April 7 afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. It closed the day at $12.06. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $9.10 to $17.49.

Wellman files $400 million mixed shelf offering
Wellman (NYSE: WLM) reported that it may periodically sell up to $400 million in debt securities, common stock, warrants, units and guarantees. It plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, such as working capital, capital spending, research and development, regulatory affairs spending, acquisitions of new technologies and other companies, and debt repayment.

Icelandic stock market hits icy patch
The Icelandic stock market suffered its biggest one-day fall in 13 years on new concerns about the country's three commercial banks, according to a Financial Times article on April 4. The benchmark Icex 15 index dropped 4.7 percent to 5,493.83, the biggest one-day fall on the exchange since February 1993, taking the stock market into negative territory for the year.

The Financial Times said the three main banks -- Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki -- led the market lower on Tuesday after Moody's Investors Service, the credit rating agency, warned about "the increased challenges the Icelandic banks are likely to face in a more difficult operating environment." The three banks accounted for about 45 percent of the Icex index by the end of last year.

Iceland's bonds, shares and currency have come under pressure this year, ending a three-year boom in asset prices, the article said. The high growth and rates attracted foreign investors, who borrowed money in markets with low-interest rates and placed them in high-yielding assets such as Iceland's, in a strategy known as the carry trade. The Icelandic stock market rose more than 400 percent from the beginning of 2003 to February this year, as the economy grew sharply and companies expanded rapidly abroad through acquisitions.

The growth increased corporate debt levels to unprecedented levels, which raised concerns about a possible credit bubble. Inflation has trebled in three years to 4.5 percent, driven by rising consumer spending and property prices, the Financial Times reported.

The Icelandic krona has also been under pressure this year, amid concerns about Iceland's large current account deficit, which the central banks said last week stood at 16.5 percent of gross domestic product, the article said. The krona has dropped 14.5 percent against the dollar this year to 72.23. Last week, the central bank was forced to raise interest rates by 75 basis points -- more than expected -- to 11.5 percent to try to cool down the economy, while also supporting the krona.

Iceland-based apparel maker 66°North is not on the Icelandic stock exchange, but told SNEWS® it is affected by Iceland's fluctuating interest rates and currency values.

Crocs names new CFO
At Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX), Peter Case, currently senior vice president of finance, has assumed the additional title of chief financial officer, replacing Caryn Ellison, who will continue to serve as vice president of finance. Prior to Crocs, Case served as executive vice president, CFO and treasurer for Ashworth Inc.

Q1 Same-store sales rise for West Marine
West Marine reported that its same-store sales rose 4.8 percent in the first quarter, compared with a 6.6 percent decline a year earlier, helped by merchandise assortment changes and service improvements. Net sales for the quarter were $132.7 million, an increase of 5.8 percent from net sales of $125.3 million a year ago.

Peter Harris, CEO of West Marine, said in a statement, "While still early, we are making visible progress with our targeted initiatives. First quarter comparable store sales benefited from weak comparisons to cold, wet weather last year in the Northeast and Great Lakes, while unusually heavy rainfall negatively affected first quarter results of our west coast locations."

For more information about these companies or their financial reports, as well as to view stock prices updated every 15 minutes, visit the SNEWS® Stock Market Updates. Click on: www.snewsnet.com/cgi-bin/snews/stock_report.html

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