Brunswick loss deepens on marked-down boat brands

Brunswick 4Q loss deepens as it writes down value of boat brands for sale, but sales rise

Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- Brunswick, which sells boats and boat engines, runs bowling centers, makes pool tables and fitness equipment, on Thursday said its fourth-quarter loss deepened as it marked down the value of two boat businesses that it's trying to sell.

But revenue rose, signaling some recovery in demand for its pricey products, and the company's profit forecast for this year was in line with what Wall Street predicted.

The Lake Forest, Ill., company's loss came to $75.3 million, or 84 cents per share, in the last three months of 2012. In the October-December period in 2011, Brunswick's loss was $29.6 million, or 33 cents per share.

Stripping out the impact of the Hatteras and Cabo boat divisions that are up for sale, as well as restructuring costs and other one-time items, the company posted an adjusted profit of 2 cents per share.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $829.8 million from $761.5 million, as sales rose in each of the company's divisions — boats, fitness, and bowling and billiards.

Analysts, on average, expected an adjusted loss of 8 cents per share, on revenue of $844 million, according to data provider FactSet.

The company has struggled to rebuild its sales in the aftermath of the recession, as demand for big-budget consumer goods — like boats — declined in the weak U.S. recovery. The downturn in Europe is also hurting demand in Brunswick's boat and fitness division.

The company has cut costs to cope with the decline in demand.

For all of 2012, Brunswick posted revenue of $3.72 billion, up 1 percent from 2011. That's the highest level since 2008, when it posted revenue of $4.71 billion. It posted its second annual profit in a row, of $50 million, or 54 cents per share, down 30 percent from 2011. Before that, it posted three years of losses.

Brunswick said it continues to face challenges this year from the slowing economy in Europe and weak demand for large fiberglass boats.

The company expects profit, excluding costs of restructuring, selling its businesses and other one-time items, to be $2.20 to $2.45 per share, with revenue growth of 3 percent to 5 percent. That implies a range between $3.83 billion and $3.9 billion.

Analysts, on average, expect earnings of $2.22 per share on revenue of $4 billion.

Shares closed Wednesday at $32.81 and were not trading premarket. They have gained 52 percent over the past 12 months.

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