Industry sees signs of improving economy

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Further evidence of a thawing economic climate can be found in the recent purchase of marine businesses.

Seminole Marine Group in Georgia acquired SouthWind boats, previously part of Bennington Marine of Elkhart, Ind., company president Paul Hoppes announced. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The boats will be built at the company's Cairo, Ga., facility, company officials say.

Seminole Marine, which builds the Sailfish brand of saltwater fishing boats, announced the formation of Seminole Marine Group to explore additional opportunities in the boatbuilding industry. "We strongly believe that marine dealers are looking for long-term relationships with solid, well-run, independent companies that offer first-class products, great customer service and immediate consumer recognition," Hoppes says in the announcement.

Kwik Tek acquired all assets of Sportsstuff, a company known for its lake, pool, backyard and inflatable products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "Adding the Sportsstuff brand is the single most exciting event in Kwik Tek's 19-year history," president and CEO Aaron Kramer says in a statement. "We are looking forward to providing one-stop shopping to our valued distributors and retailers.

Q4 numbers wrap up year-end results

March and April brought several fourth-quarter 2009 earnings results for publicly held companies.

  • West Marine reported an improved financial picture with unaudited results showing net income up significantly for fiscal 2009 and the company finishing the year free of debt.

Net income was $12.4 million, an improvement of $51.2 million over the net loss of $38.8 million for fiscal 2008. Diluted earnings per share were 55 cents, compared to a loss per share of $1.76.

The company ended the year with no debt, compared to long-term debt of $47 million at the end of fiscal 2008. The fourth quarter of 2009 was West Marine's second consecutive quarter of being debt-free at the end of the period, and the second half of 2009 was the first debt-free period for West Marine in more than 20 years.

Net revenues for the 52-week fiscal year ending Jan. 2 were $588.4 million. Adjusted to remove the impact of an extra week in the 2008 fiscal year, fiscal 2009 net revenues decreased by $36.8 million, or 5.9 percent, and adjusted comparable store sales decreased by 2.7 percent versus fiscal year 2008.

Without this adjustment, net revenues decreased by $42.8 million, or 6.8 percent, compared to the 53-week 2008 fiscal year, and comparable store sales decreased by 3.6 percent.

  • Coast Distribution reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2009 but an overall profitable fiscal year. Net loss for the fourth quarter was $1.1 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $17.3 million. For the same period of 2008, Coast reported a net loss of $2.3 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $16.9 million.

For the full year ending Dec. 31, 2009, Coast reported net earnings of $100,000, or 2 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $103.2 million. This compares with a net loss of $1.8 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $132.2 million in 2008.

  • Iridium Communications reported a net loss for the fourth quarter at $4.7 million, compared with net income of $1.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2008. This partially reflects $17 million of expenses related to purchase price accounting adjustments, net of tax, relating to the GHL Acquisition Corp. transaction.

This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue.

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