Chaparral and Robalo parent company Marine Products Corp. said it increased its unit sales to nearly $65.6 million in the fourth quarter, a 14.6 percent gain from the previous year.
The company said the increase was attributable to an 11.7 percent rise in the average selling price per boat and an increase in sales of parts and accessories. Unit sales for the quarter rose 4 percent from the previous year.
During the quarter, which ended Dec. 31, the company generated higher sales among its Chaparral Surf Series models, larger Chaparral SSX Sportboats and Robalo Explorer models.
Average selling prices increased during the quarter because of a model mix that included larger boats.
The company said it had a profit for the quarter of $3.34 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with $3.7 million, also 10 cents a share, for the quarter a year earlier.
For the year the company said it had a profit of $19.3 million, or 55 cents a diluted share, and it was nearly $21 million, excluding the impact of tax reform.
Net sales for the year totaled $267.3 million, an increase of 10.8 percent from the previous year.
The company also announced a 43 percent increase in its cash dividend, from 7 to 10 cents.
"Our fourth-quarter 2017 financial results were driven by higher volumes and a model mix which included larger boats, both of which favorably impacted our financial results,” said Marine Products president and CEO Richard Hubbell in a statement. “During our annual dealer conference held a few months ago, our dealers were optimistic about the 2018 retail selling season and were impressed with our model lineup.”
Early indicators of winter boat show attendance has been positive and the company believes it will have a strong 2018 retail selling season, Hubbell said.
“Our dealer inventories and backlog are slightly higher than at this time in 2016 as we prepare to support dealer demand in the coming months,” Hubbell said. “In addition, we are pleased to report continued market share gains in both our sterndrive and outboard sportfishing boat product lines. For the 12-month period ending in September 2017, Chaparral's market share increased to 16.7 percent of the sterndrive market in its size category, and Robalo's market share increased to 5.3 percent of its market and was the fourth-largest brand in this category.”
Net sales for the fiscal year were more than $267.3 million, an increase of 10.8 percent from the previous year.
Ben Palmer, the company’s chief financial officer, said during an earnings call this morning that the company expects its effective 2018 tax rate to be “in the low 20 percent range. Since we believe that we will continue to generate positive financial results, we will benefit from this lower tax rate through increased earnings and operating cash flow in 2018, and the additional cash generated will support such initiatives as the higher quarterly dividend.”