Outdoor financials: Quiksilver president resigns, may attempt Rossignol buyout, plus Jarden, Kellwood, Wolverine, Dick's, GSI Commerce

Quiksilver president resigns and may attempt Rossignol buyout, Jarden reports Q4 loss on acquisition charges, Sun Capital completes Kellwood offer, Wolverine appoints new board member and ups quarterly dividend, Analyst predicts weak '08 environment for Dick's Sporting Goods, GSI Commerce Q4 profit plummets on costs,

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Quiksilver president resigns, may attempt Rossignol buyout

Bernard Mariette has resigned as president of Quiksilver (NYSE: ZQK) to pursue other interests and is reportedly looking to buy the company’s Rossignol unit. Chairman and CEO Robert McKnight will take the president title.

Mariette worked for Quiksilver for 15 years and oversaw the company’s European operations, becoming president in 2001. Mariette will remain available for one year to advise on transitional issues and brands other than Rossignol.

McKnight will again direct the company’s strategic and operational initiatives as it focuses on its Quiksilver, Roxy and DC core apparel and footwear brands, and attempts to shed its equipment units, including French ski maker Rossignol.

“Our business objectives today are clear,” McKnight said in a statement. “We will focus our attention on our Quiksilver, Roxy and DC businesses, both to continue their healthy growth and to improve their operating results. At the same time, we will seek to further reduce our exposure to the wintersports equipment businesses we acquired in 2005, including pursuing a sale of the businesses and we will work to improve our balance sheet.”

Also, McKnight will have three corporate officers and three regional presidents reporting directly to him under the company’s new management structure.

Charlie Exon, who serves as a director and the company’s general counsel, will also assume as chief administrative officer. David Morgan, COO, will continue in his role, including overseeing the company’s global sourcing initiative and also serving as president of Rossignol through a transition period. Joe Scirocco, the CFO, will continue to oversee global finance initiatives.

Jarden reports Q4 loss on acquisition charges

Jarden (NYSE: JAH), parent of Coleman, Campingaz and the K2 Inc. portfolio, swung to a fourth-quarter net loss, hurt by costs related to an acquisition.

Jarden recorded a loss of $11.2 million, or $0.15 per share, compared with a profit of $35.7 million, or $0.52 per share, in the year-ago period.

Adjusted to exclude costs related to its K2 acquisition, a stock-option expense, other costs and a tax adjustment, net income was $0.89 per share. Jarden acquired outdoor sporting goods company K2 in August.

Revenue rose 39 percent to $1.47 billion, from $1.06 billion.

For the year, net income fell 74 percent to $28.1 million, or $0.38 per share, from $106 million, or $1.59 per share last year. Excluding one-time items net income was $2.88 per share, versus $2.55 per share last year.

Revenue rose 21 percent to $4.66 billion from $3.85 billion last year.

Jarden said it expects adjusted earnings to rise “a minimum” of 10 percent in 2008.

Sun Capital completes Kellwood offer

Sun Capital Securities Group said the cash tender offer by its subsidiary, Cardinal Integrated, to purchase all outstanding shares of Kellwood Company (NYSE: KWD) has been completed. About 2.5 million shares were validly tendered. Those shares, plus Sun Capital’s existing 11.4 percent stake, equal 93.7 percent of outstanding shares.

Sun Capital first made the $542 million offer five months ago. Kellwood at first rejected the deal but last week accepted it and recommended it to shareholders.

Sun Capital will pay $21 per share for Kellwood.

As the final step of the acquisition process, Kellwood will merge into Cardinal Integrated and become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company. Kellwood’s stock will be delisted and will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Kellwood’s outdoor protfolio includes Sierra Designs, Kelty, Royal Robbins, Slumberjack, Ultimate Direction and Wenzel.

Sun Capital Partners is a private investment firm focused on leveraged buyouts, and manages approximately $10 billion of equity capital.

Wolverine appoints new board member, ups quarterly dividend

Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW), parent of Merrell and licensee for Patagonia Footwear, has appointed William K. Gerber to its board of directors.

Gerber joins the Wolverine board having served as executive vice president and CFO of Kelly Services. Gerber also served as vice president of finance and corporate controller for The Limited. He also serves on the board of directors of both AK Steel Corp. and Kaydon Corporation.

Separately, Wolverine raised its quarterly cash dividend by 22.2 percent to $0.11 per share from $0.09, previously. The dividend is payable on May 1 to stockholders of record on April 1, and represents a 44-cent-per-share annual dividend.

Analyst predicts weak ’08 environment for Dick’s Sporting Goods

An analyst said Dick’s Sporting Goods’ (NYSE: DKS) stock was unlikely to rise much further amid a weakening sporting-goods sector and downgraded the stock.

Susquehanna Financial Group analyst John Shanley said in a note to investors that Dick’s fundamentals are “very healthy,” but downgraded the stock to “Neutral” from “Positive” amid a weak retail environment.

Shanley said there is uncertainty about spending on big-ticket sporting goods by consumers in 2008, noting that spendy products like golf clubs and camping and exercise equipment are “mainstays” of Dick’s merchandising mix.

The current share price “does not sufficiently account for the potentially significant impact that external economic factors might have on both store traffic and transaction levels going into the first half of 2008,” Shanley wrote. “In our opinion, this slowdown is already evident from the channel checks we have conducted at a number of Dick’s stores over the past month.”

Shares fell $0.22 to close at $32.18. The stock has traded between $24.14 and $36.77 during the past 52 weeks.

GSI Commerce Q4 profit plummets on costs

GSI Commerce (Nasdaq: GSIC) reported a 76-percent plunge in fourth-quarter profit as its expenses climbed higher.

The company’s profit fell to $16.5 million, or $0.30 per share, from $67.9 million, or $1.33 per share, a year ago, as sales and marketing costs and product development costs increased sharply, sending the company’s expenses up 51 percent. That overcame a 30-percent increase in revenue, which rose to $335.1 million from $257.2 million.

The company cut its operating profit and revenue forecasts last month, citing charges from its buyout of Accretive Commerce. Its amortization charges more than doubled to $13.6 million. GSI also received a $43.6 million income-tax benefit in the year-ago quarter.

For the full year, GSI’s profit dropped to $3 million, or $0.06 per share, on $750 million in sales.

GSI Commerce also said it will lose money in the first quarter due to one-time costs. GSI forecast a loss from operations of $18 million to $19 million for the quarter due to amortization and stock-based compensation costs, among other charges. Excluding those costs, it will break even or post a loss from operations of up to $1 million on revenue of $188 million to $193 million.

For the full year, GSI expects about revenue of about $1 billion.

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