In announcing its group's good results for the first quarter, the management indicated that it was close to an acquisition, but declined to divulge any details, pending due diligence proceedings. The group is also making preparations with key retail clients for its first apparel line.
Sales grew by 19 percent to $46.4 million at Black Diamond in the quarter, thanks in particular to strong sales of carabiners, lights, poles, harnesses and ice gear, which offset softer sales of big-ticket ski products, gloves and mittens.
Gregory Mountain Products boosted sales by 25 percent as it benefited from Black Diamond's distribution network in Europe. In the U.S., the relatively warm winter season caused a drop in sales of winter sports equipment, but led clients to anticipate deliveries of mountaineering and climbing products.
Overall, group sales grew by 18.9 percent in the U.S. to $18.8 million and by 18.8 percent to $27.6 million in other markets around the world. The gross margin improved by 1.5 percentage points to 40.1 percent for the group. Operating earnings jumped by 140 percent to $4.7 million, and net income more than doubled to $2.6 million from $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2011.