Johnson Outdoors reported revenues of $134.2 million for the second fiscal quarter ended April 1, up by 1 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The increase was primarily driven by gains in the company's fishing and watercraft recreation businesses. Sales in the company's second fiscal quarter historically reflect shipments to customers ahead of the warm-weather products season, key to the outdoor recreation industry.
Johnson Outdoors owns a large portfolio of brands across four categories - Watercraft, Marine Electronics, Diving and Outdoor Gear – among which are Old Town canoes and kayaks, Carlisle paddles, Minn Kota motors, Hummingbird marine electronics and charts, Scubapro diving equipment, Jetboil outdoor cooking systems, and others.
The continued market momentum in the Minn Kota and Humminbird brands drove a 1.9 percent sales increase in the Marine Electronics business, where revenues topped last year's record-high second quarter sales. The strong performance in Old Town and accessory brands drove a 6.1 percent increase in Watercraft revenues.
In contrast, Outdoor Gear sales slipped by 4.5 percent to $11.6 million as growth with specialty retailers could not overcome reduced revenues from large outdoor retailers. This led to a drop in operating profit of 6.6 percent to $999,000 for the segment. which also includes Eureka! tents and Silva digital instruments, Jetboil enjoyed double-digit growth, fueled by its Genesis Basecamp 2 burner system.
Sales in the Diving business, which consists essentially of Scubapro, declined by 4.8 percent to $17.1 million, due essentially to an unfavorable currency translation of 1.4 percentage points and continued turmoil in the Middle East. The segment's operating loss nearly doubled to $704,000.
The company's net income for the quarter was $9.3 million, representing a 155.7 percent increase from the year-ago period. The gross margin improved by two percentage points to 41.0 percent and the operating profit nearly doubled, increasing to $15.1 million for the quarter as compared to $7.6 million. Operating expenses were slashed by 10.1 percent due to reduced legal expenses and lower warranty and promotional expenses.
Legal expenses in the prior year were primarily related to Johnson's patent infringement lawsuits against Garmin over the Hummingbird side-scan sonar technology used by Johnson for fish finding. In November 2015, the International Trade Commission (ITC) said that some of Garmin's sonar products infringed on one of Johnson Outdoors' patents and issued an order barring imports, sales or distribution of infringing products and components.
The two companies have now announced that they have reached an agreement resolving the litigation, which includes the licensing of three side-scan sonar patents to Garmin and the closure of the related legal matters pending before the ITC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, but Johnson is likely to receive royalties from the licenses granted to Garmin.