Minneapolis (Business Wire) -Arctic Cat yesterday reported that net earnings for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, increased to $13.0 million, or $0.70 per diluted share, up from prior-year net earnings of $1.9 million, or $0.10 per diluted share. Arctic Cat's net sales for the fiscal 2011 full year grew to $464.7 million versus $450.7 million last fiscal year.
"In fiscal 2011, we were pleased to see snowmobile sales rebound from their recessionary levels a year ago," Claude Jordan, Arctic Cat's president and chief executive officer, said. "We are pleased with the continued improvement in Arctic Cat's full-year profitability and revenue. Contributing to our fiscal 2011 results were increased sales of snowmobiles and snow-related parts, garments and accessories. Our ongoing emphasis on controlling our cost structure led to higher gross margins and operating profits in fiscal 2011, while additional inventory reductions further strengthened the company's balance sheet."
Among the highlights of Arctic Cat's fiscal 2011 full-year financial results versus last fiscal year:
- Gross margins improved 330 basis points;
- Operating expenses as a percent of sales decreased to 17.9 percent;
- Operating profit rose to $18.1 million versus $1.3 million;
- Inventories declined 24 percent to $61.5 million from $81.4 million at the end of the fourth quarter;
- Total cash and short-term investments at quarter end rose to $125.1 million, up from $71.1 million; and
- The company had no short- or long-term debt at quarter end.
For the 2011 fourth quarter ended March 31, 2011, Arctic Cat reported a net loss of $9.6 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, on net sales of $73.5 million. Arctic Cat reported a net loss in the prior-year fourth quarter of $9.6 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, on net sales of $84.0 million. Due to the seasonality of Arctic Cat's business, the company typically reports lower results in its fiscal first and fourth quarters, and its fiscal second and third quarters are historically its strongest.
Business Line Results
Arctic Cat's fourth-quarter snowmobile sales were a negative $4.5 million, primarily due to sales incentives, versus sales of $597,000 in the prior-year quarter. Full-year snowmobile sales grew 12 percent to $182.0 million compared to $162.9 million last year, due to strong U.S. and international snowmobile sales.
"In fiscal 2011, we were pleased to see snowmobile sales rebound from their recessionary levels a year ago," said Jordan. "In March, we unveiled 23 exciting, all-new snowmobiles, representing 75 percent of our 2012 model year line-up, which we believe will have a positive impact on fiscal 2012 snowmobile sales. We remain firmly focused on being a technology innovation leader. Our latest first-to-market technologies will further enhance sled performance and rider comfort."
In addition to offering the world's fastest snowmobiles, Arctic Cat's newly introduced 2012 models are equipped with an exclusive new chassis, suspension, and drive and braking technologies.
Arctic Cat's ATV sales totaled $48.0 million in the fourth quarter versus $55.8 million in the prior-year quarter, as the business continued to focus on lowering dealer inventory. Full-year ATV sales declined 4 percent in fiscal 2011 to $181.1 million compared to $188.0 million in fiscal 2010.
"Industry-wide ATV retail sales continued to decline in fiscal 2011, however, we gained traction with three new ATV products that were introduced in the fiscal 2011 fourth quarter. These included two value-priced models-the full-featured 350 4x4 automatic and the 425 EFI 4x4 automatic-as well as a new crossover XC450i ATV. These new products, combined with our existing strong line-up, allowed us to take market share in fiscal 2011," said Jordan. "We also are excited to soon enter the growing sport side-by-side segment with our new Wildcat sport side-by-side model. Although we haven't yet disclosed specific details on this product, we recently previewed the Wildcat at our snow dealer show and plan to begin shipping this off-road vehicle to dealers during fiscal 2012."
Sales of parts, garments and accessories (PG&A) in the fiscal 2011 fourth quarter rose 9 percent to $29.9 million versus $27.6 million in the prior-year quarter. The growth in PG&A was due primarily to a strong snow season in North America that resulted in higher sales of snow-related parts, garments and accessories. For fiscal 2011, PG&A sales totaled $101.6 million compared to $99.9 million in the prior year.
"We remain pleased with our progress to further improve Arctic Cat's profitability and sales in fiscal 2011, and we expect to make continued gains in fiscal 2012," Jordan said. "Our successful efforts to reduce dealer inventories leave Arctic Cat well-positioned for future sales growth, assuming the economy continues its current rate of improvement. We also remain focused on leveraging the company's operational efficiencies, in order to further enhance profitability."
The company's fiscal 2012 outlook includes the following assumptions: ATV industry retail sales declining approximately 10 to 15 percent; snowmobile industry retail sales up approximately 5 to 10 percent; Arctic Cat dealer inventories declining 10 to 20 percent; achieving flat operating expense levels as a percent of sales; increasing cash flow from operations; and ending the year with more cash on the balance sheet. At this time, the company expects gross margins to improve between 20 to 60 basis points in fiscal 2012, although commodity costs will remain a challenge for the foreseeable future.