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June 6, 2005 – Finance Digest

June 6, 2005
Filed under Features

Piaggio & Co. SpA reported a net loss of Euro 16.7 million ($21.02 million) for the first quarter of 2005, an improvement compared to a net loss of nearly Euro 25 million ($31.46 million) registered for the comparable three months of 2004.

In 2004, the Piaggio Group reported consolidated net sales of Euro 1.084 billion ($1.36 billion), up 9.8% from 2003, and a return to net profit after four years of losses.

Piaggio, which re-entered the U.S. market in 2000, now has 85 dealerships, 15 of which opened in the last year. The company says retail sales of Piaggio and Vespa scooters rose 22.6% in the U.S. during 2004. Shipping now and due to arrive at authorized dealers across the country by early summer is the Vespa LX series (MSRP starting at $3,199).

Paolo Timoni, CEO of Piaggio USA, Inc., says the company plans an aggressive U.S. marketing push for its Piaggio and Vespa brands. The first step in Piaggio’s updated marketing effort was the hiring of a new creative PR agency, CooperKatz & Company, to execute an integrated campaign combining public relations, events and online initiatives.

CooperKatz says it intends to educate North American consumers that scooters fit virtually every lifestyle. The firm plans more mainstream press contacts, blogs designed to engage niche customer segments, and studies that encourage municipalities to embrace scooter-friendly policies.

“We selected CooperKatz for their creativity and unique combination of public relations, event marketing and online expertise that we believe will help support Piaggio in the growth plan for North America,” said Timoni. “Particularly intriguing were their ideas for using blogs to further engage our passionate Vespa owners.”


Arctic Cat Inc., Thief River Falls, Minn., says net earnings for its fourth quarter ended March 31, 2005, were $2.7 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $1.0 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, in the prior-year fourth quarter. Sales for the quarter were $157.0 million, up 12% from $140.2 million in the same period last year.

Arctic Cat net sales for the fiscal year ending March 31 were $689.1 million, up 6% from sales of $649.6 million last fiscal year. Net earnings totaled $28.3 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $30.4 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, for fiscal 2004.

Sales of ATVs grew 12% in the 2005 fourth quarter to $117.1 million versus $104.2 million in the same period last year. During the quarter, Arctic Cat shipped its first 1,000 ATVs featuring the new 650 H1 engine. The H1 is the first ATV engine designed and assembled by Arctic Cat. For fiscal 2005, the company’s ATV sales rose to $341.0 million, up 16% compared to last year.

Arctic Cat’s snowmobile sales in the 2005 fourth quarter rose to $10.9 million versus $5.1 million in the prior-year quarter. However, full-year snowmobile sales were $252.5 million, down 2% from $258.4 million in the prior year.

Sales of parts, garments and accessories in the 2005 fourth quarter were $29.0 million versus $30.8 million in the year-ago period. For the fiscal year, sales of parts, garments and accessories were $95.7 million, down 1% from $96.8 million last year. Arctic says fourth quarter and full-year parts, garments and accessories sales were lower than anticipated due to the mild winter season in key regions across the United States.

“Although I’m pleased that the company posted another year of record sales, our fourth- quarter performance was not as strong as we had anticipated,” said Christopher A. Twomey, chairman and chief executive officer of Arctic Cat, Inc. “Our results were impacted by rapidly escalating raw material surcharges during the quarter, as well as another mild winter across much of the United States that produced lower than projected sales of snow-related parts, garments and accessories.”

Twomey said Arctic announced a snowmobile promotion late in the quarter to assist brand dealers.

During the 2005 fourth quarter, Arctic Cat repurchased 242,000 shares of its common stock.

The company’s board of directors also provided a new authorization for the company to repurchase up to $20 million additional shares of its common stock from time to time in open market transactions.

“The share-repurchase program increases shareholder value for investors,” said Twomey. “Our board of directors believes that the repurchase of Arctic Cat’s shares is an excellent use of the company’s cash.”

At the end of the 2005 fourth quarter, Arctic Cat
reported $88.4 million in cash and no long-term debt.

OUTLOOK
Arctic Cat anticipates fiscal 2006 first-quarter net sales for the period ending June 30, 2005, will be in the range of $100 million to $105 million compared to $102.6 million in the prior-year period. Net earnings for the first quarter are estimated between breakeven to a loss of 5 cents per diluted share versus earnings of $0.01 per diluted share in the prior-year quarter.

For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, Arctic Cat anticipates net sales will grow 3 percent to 5 percent and be in the range of $710 million to $723 million. Arctic Cat is forecasting lower margins in fiscal 2006, due to increased raw material costs, lower snowmobile sales and a less favorable Japanese yen/dollar exchange rate, resulting in estimated full-year diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.31 to $1.40.

“Although we expect further sales growth in the year ahead, led by continued ATV market share gains, we believe that high raw material costs, lower snowmobile sales and an unfavorable Japanese yen/dollar exchange rate will impact the company’s earnings potential in fiscal 2006,” Twomey said. “To address these factors, we are aggressively pursuing a variety of cost-reduction initiatives, and continue our emphasis on producing best-in-class products in order to enhance customer satisfaction and drive shareholder value.”


Cycle Country 2Q Revenue Drops 47.8%
Cycle Country Accessories Corporation, Milford, Iowa, says revenue for its second quarter ended March 31, 2005, was $2,809,226, a decrease of 47.8% from revenue of $5,381,420 for the same period last year. The company says sales to U.S. distributors and OEMs dropped 52.7% from similar sales posted for the second quarter of 2004. Net earnings were not released.

Net income for the second quarter was $14,305 compared to $465,013 for the same period last year. For the six month period that ended March 31, 2005, net income was $546,406, down from $869,123 for the same period last year.

“Results for the second quarter of fiscal 2005 did not equal the results for the second quarter of fiscal 2004, but current second quarter results did meet our baseline growth projections,” said Ron Hickman, President and CEO of Cycle Country Accessories Corporation.

Cycle Country projects the completed acquisition of their largest supplier, Simonsen Iron Works of Spencer, Iowa, will provide additional profits, and Hickman said he is confident in earlier basic net income projections of 40 cents per share for fiscal year 2005.

Simonsen’s services include laser and plasma cutting, turret punching, tube bending, CNC machining, powder coating and more.

Shares of Cycle Country plummeted $1.10, or 22.5%, to $3.80 on Monday after the company reported its results.


Goldsmith Named President and CEO of Coats Intl. Ltd.
Coates International Ltd. (CIL) announced the appointment of Mark D. Goldsmith as President and CEO of Coates Motorcycle Company Ltd.
In the securities business for 40 years, Goldsmith began his career at Frederick S. Todman & Co. He was vice president of MKI Securities Inc.; treasurer & CFO of Muller & Company, Inc.; president of Adolph, Komorsky & Co., Inc.; CFO of MH Meyerson & Co., Inc.; and managing director of Chapman Spira & Carson LLC. Goldsmith also was a charter member of the Internal Auditors Association; member of the Accounting Association of the SIA; and director of the National Investment Bankers Association.

CIL was founded in 1988 to research, patent and manufacture technology associated with a spherical rotary valve system for internal combustion engines. This technology was developed over a period of 15 years by George J. Coates, who is the President and Chairman of the Board of CIL. Coates has secured numerous United States patents and foreign patents for innovations related to the spherical rotary valve internal combustion engine.

For more information about Coats, visit www.coatsengine.com.

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