Net income grew by 90.7 percent to €19.3 million at Johnson Outdoors for the financial year ended Sept. 27, mainly due to a lower tax rate. The gross margin went up by 0.3 percentage points to 40.1 percent. The operating margin improved by 0.8 percentage points to 6.0 percent for the year, close to the target set by the management in its three-year recovery plan, although the previous year had seen the benefit of a favorable $3.5 million legal settlement.
For the fourth quarter, Johnson reported a slightly higher net loss of $3.5 million, compared to one year ago, on 3 percent higher revenues of $77.3 million. The gross margin fell to 37.3 percent and the operating loss increased to $4.7 million from $3.1 million.
The group's total sales grew by 3.4 percent to $426.5 million for the year. They rose by 25.2 percent to $44.2 million in outdoor and by 7.1 percent to $147.7 million in marine electronics, but fell by 3.9 percent to $84.5 million in diving and by 12.6 percent to $50.9 million in the watercraft division.
Sales of outdoor gear benefitted from a positive contribution of $10.7 million for the year from the Jetboil operation, which was acquired by Johnson in November 2012. It offset a decline in government tent sales. The segment's operating margin went down by 3.07 percentage points to 4.93 percent, however.
The diving segment had a slightly lower operating margin of 6.73 percent. Sales were affected by continued weakness in Europe and in other key markets, where it was largely weather-related.
Operating losses grew by a factor of five to $2.1 million in the watercraft segment, where sales suffered in part from the closure of a European subsidiary of the group. However, the management was quite bullish about the sales prospects for the new award-winning fishing kayak, the Old Town Predator. It features a removable seat for larger people who want to sit or stand up.