2004: Broad-based gains drive Acushnet’s sales

The Acushnet Co. extended its streak of consecutive, double-digit sales gains to four quarters – en route to posting record revenues for the first three months of the year.

For the period ended March 31, Acushnet sales – which comprise the Titleist, FootJoy, Cobra and Pinnacle brands – rose 20 percent to $338.9 million from $282.4 million during the first quarter of 2003.

The company’s operating income jumped 62.4 percent to $53.2 million from $32.7 million. After a $2.1 million restructuring charge for consolidating operations at two ball plants to one facility, the operating income was $51 million, a 56 percent increase. Fortune Brands, the consumer-products company that owns Acushnet, raised its projection for full-year operating income growth in the golf division to mid to high single digits.

The results reflected broad-based growth across the company’s product lines, with double-digit sales gains at Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra. The company said that its market-leading ball business gained 4 share points during the quarter, while Cobra continued to enjoy strong consumer demand for its metalwoods and irons. FootJoy, according to the company, holds the leading market-share position in shoes, socks, gloves and outerwear.

Aside from golf, Fortune Brands, based in Lincolnshire, Ill., markets leading brands in the home and hardware, spirits and office-supply sectors. The company reported that its total sales rose 22.7 percent to $1.71 billion from $1.39 billion in 2003, while net income increased 40.4 percent to $139.7 million from $99.5 million.

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