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Brunswick's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

In summary, our adjusted EPS increased by $1.63. At year-end, our cash from marketable securities totaled $508 million. Total debt outstanding was $693 million, representing a reduction for the year of $138 million and our lowest debt level since the first quarter of 2004. Peter will comment in his remarks on the key drivers of our strong cash flow as well as provide you with a perspective on our 2012 targets.

Our quarterly results continue to demonstrate solid performances across all of our business segments. Results benefited from higher sales, company-wide cost reductions, and lower warranty cost partially offset by higher variable compensation expense. This was our best fourth quarter operating performance since the fourth quarter of 2007 and our consolidated results continue to demonstrate strong operating leverage.

Turning to our fourth quarter results in more detail, sales increased 8% with growth reflected in all of our segments. Our Boat segment experienced the highest increase at 20% followed by Life Fitness at 11%. Operating losses excluding restructuring charges were $14 million in the quarter, an improvement of $43 million as compared to the prior year.

All of our operating segments experienced year-over-year improvements. Operating margins ex-charges increased by 600 basis points. Our Q4 net loss was $0.33 per share which included $0.05 of restructuring charges, $0.03 of losses on debt retirement and a $0.05 benefit from special tax items. Excluding these three items, our diluted loss per share would have been $0.30. This compares to a net loss of $1.17 per share in the prior year, which included $0.21 of restructuring charges and a $0.02 expense in special tax items. Again, excluding these items, 2010 fourth quarter loss per share would have been $0.94. In summary, our adjusted fourth quarter of 2011 EPS increased by $0.64 from the prior period.

Now, let’s turn to our operating segments starting with the Marine Engine segment. From a geographic perspective, sales to U.S. markets grew by 10% while sales to Mercury’s non-U.S. customers decreased 2% in the quarter. In the aggregate, the segment experienced top line growth of 6% for the quarter. Non-U.S. revenues were affected by varying market conditions around the world. Growth across Asia continued to be strong, especially China.

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