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Outdoor financials: VF reaffirms Q4 outlook, shares rise, plus Kellwood, Deckers, Amer Sports, Wolverine

VF reaffirms Q4 outlook and shares rise, Shareholder investment group urges Kellwood to consider a sale, Deckers Outdoor names COO, Amer Sports exercises 2002 warrants, and Wolverine declares quarterly dividend.

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VF reaffirms Q4 outlook, shares rise

VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) reaffirmed its fourth-quarter forecast, citing a strong business model that’s offsetting some broader market challenges. VF is the parent of various outdoor brands, including The North Face, JanSport and Eagle Creek.

For the fourth quarter, the company expects earnings per share to rise 13 percent and revenue to rise 18 percent year-over-year, implying earnings of $1.40 per share on revenue of $1.89 billion. On average, analysts expect a profit of $1.42 per share on revenue of $1.89 billion.

VF said it plans to offer an initial 2008 outlook and review its five-year growth plan Jan. 9. The company will release fourth-quarter results Feb. 5.

The news bolstered VF’s shares, which rose as high as $6.15 in trading on Dec. 19 and closed at $75.22.

Shareholder investment group urges Kellwood to consider a sale

CtW Investment Group, which works with certain pension funds to increase shareholder returns, said it has asked Kellwood (NYSE: KWD) to consider a sale of the company. Kellwood owns a variety of outdoor brands including Sierra Designs, Kelty, Royal Robbins and Slumberjack.

Sun Capital Securities Group offered to acquire Kellwood for $543.9 million in cash, or $21 per share, just days after the company’s shares hit a seven-year low in mid-September. Additionally, Kellwood shares sank after the company reported a $65.8 million loss in the second quarter.

CtW faulted Kellwood’s directors for failing to discuss the acquisition offer and asked the board to name a special committee of independent directors to explore strategic alternatives. CtW encouraged the board to consider Sun’s offer and seek competing bids.

In a letter to Kellwood, CtW said Kellwood has lost 50 percent of its market value in the past year. It added: “A sale to Sun or another buyer could enable shareholders to realize value without bearing the execution risk of Kellwood’s long-term plan, a compelling option given the plan’s optimistic 25 percent annual EPS growth assumption and Kellwood’s poor historical performance.”

CtW represents pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with Change to Win, a federation of unions representing nearly 6 million members. These funds are long-term Kellwood shareholders.

Kellwood shares rose as high as $1.24 to $17.55 in afternoon trading on Dec. 19. It closed at $17.36. The stock has traded between $14.21 and $33.75 during the past 52 weeks.

Deckers Outdoor names COO

Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK), parent of Teva, Uggs and Simple, said CFO and Executive Vice President Zohar Ziv has been named chief operating officer, a newly created position, effective Jan. 1.

Ziv will continue to serve as CFO until a replacement has been selected. He has held the position of CFO and executive vice president of finance and administration since March 2006. Before joining Deckers, he served as CFO with EMAK Worldwide Inc.

Amer Sports exercises 2002 warrants

Amer Sports said 3,300 shares have been subscribed for as a result of an exercise of its 2002 warrants. The corresponding increase in the company’s share capital amounting to EUR 13,200 (USD 19,010) was registered on Dec. 18, 2007. As a result of this increase, Amer Sports’ share capital totals EUR 2.89 million (USD $4.16 million) and the total number of shares in issue is more than 72.3 million.

Shareholder rights commence from the registration date of Dec. 18. The new shares were listed on the Helsinki Exchanges on Dec. 19, 2007.

The share subscription period ends on Dec. 31, 2007.

(Conversion of Euros into U.S. dollars is for information only, is not necessarily relative to earnings, and is based on the currency rate as of Dec. 18.)

Wolverine declares quarterly dividend

Wolverine World Wide’s (NYSE: WWW) board of directors have declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.09 per share of common stock. The dividend is payable on Feb. 1, 2008, to stockholders of record on Jan. 2, 2008. The dividend is equal to the last quarterly dividend and represents a $0.36 per share annual dividend.

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