With cautious anticipation, Brunswick is looking for a rebound from lackluster numbers the company posted in fiscal 2009. The 2010 first quarter proved a good jumpstart to that initiative. Brunswicks quarterly operating earnings, excluding restructuring, exit, and impairment charges, were $18 million, a nice contrast to the $106 million loss experienced in the prior year.
Lower pension expenses added approximately $13 million to the reduced costs which drastically affected the Engine and Bowling & Billiards segments. This reduction, combined with fixed-cost reductions and lower bad debt expense, were the primary factors that reduced the companys first quarter SG&A by 11%.
For the Marine segment, improved retail financing for boats contributed to the 19% growth in boat sales during the first quarter and an overall 22.7% increase in revenues to $633.5 million for the segment in Q1.
Although that bump is partially offset by a lower average selling price resulting, the company believes that trend will exhaust itself within the next quarter.
The Marine segment reported an operating loss of $26.7 million, an improvement compared to a loss of $72.3 million in the first quarter of 2009. The company attributes the reduction mostly to higher sales, lower restructuring charges and reduced discounts.
The Life Fitness segment was flat as compared to Q1 2009 with revenues hovering around $119 million. Operating earnings grew exponentially to $9.5 million in Q1 from just $300k in the year-ago quarter. International sales generated 52% of total segment sales, guided by positive year-over-year improvements in Asia.
Sales in Bowling & Billiards were down 8% to $91.9 million, still a sequential improvement when compared to the double-digit declines seen during the previous four quarters. On a positive note, operating earnings for the segment increased 40.6% to $14.9 million due to fixed-cost reduction activities and lower pension expense. Still, Brunswick is experiencing hardship in this category which is mostly attributed to bowling and billiards centers all-around caution in purchasing new equipment.