Marine Products Corp. said today that it had fourth-quarter net sales of $37.4 million, a 5.9 percent decrease from $39.8 million in the quarter a year earlier, because of lower unit sales.
Unit sales decreased about 6 percent during the quarter compared with the previous year, CFO Ben Palmer told analysts and investors during a conference call this morning to discuss the company’s quarterly and annual results.
The company reported a net profit for the quarter of $2.04 million, or 5 cents a diluted share, a decrease of 4.7 percent from $2.14 million, or 4 cents a share, in the quarter last year.
Net sales for the year that ended Dec. 31 totaled $171 million, an increase of 1.6 percent from the prior year. Net income for the full year was $8.9 million, or 24 cents a diluted share, compared with $7.5 million, or 20 cents a share, in the prior year.
Gross profit for the fourth quarter was 7.4 million, a decrease of 2.9 percent from 7.7 million in the 2013 quarter.
“Gross profit declined due to lower sales,” Palmer said. “This decline was partially offset by an increase in gross margin, which improved from 19.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year to 19.9 percent this year. This increase was due to a favorable model mix and efficient production schedule. On a relative basis, we saw more of the larger SSX sportboats and Signature cruisers ending the fourth quarter of last year.”
Gross margins, as a percentage of net sales, increased this quarter, compared with the prior year, because of the favorable model mix, CEO Rick Hubbell said.
“We also sold our first Chaparral SunCoast outboards in the fourth quarter,” Hubbell said. “We are pleased to be re-entering the outboard market with this Chaparral model.”
For the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, the Chaparral sterndrive brand continues to hold the No. 1 market share in its category. The most recent report indicates that Chaparral had 13.7 percent of the 18-to-35-foot sterndrive market during the period, Hubbell said.
Robalo’s market share grew and reached 3.2 percent of the coastal offshore sportfishing boat market during this period.
“We have several reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming retail selling season,” Hubbell said. “From a macro point of view, we believe that the steep decline in fuel prices and favorable data points regarding consumer confidence and unemployment hold positive implications with discretionary purchases such as pleasure boats.”
“Furthermore, we are experiencing a good start to the winter boat show season with high attendance, good sales and a favorable model mix with the products we sell,” he said. “We continue to be pleased about our Vortex jetboat sales and are optimistic about the market’s reception to our SunCoast outboards for 2015.”
Cruiser sales “continue to be weak, but on a relative basis we saw a few more of our larger cruisers and a few less of the smaller cruisers,” said Jim Landers, vice president of corporate finance. “So it’s probably more just specific customer preferences than a discernible trend, although what we have seen in the boat shows thus far this year is a preference for slightly bigger boats. So that’s encouraging.”