Arctic Cat Mauled by Shortfall

ATV sales plunge, taking the snowmobile giant deep into the red.
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Arctic Cat

(ACAT)

hits the skids as all-terrain vehicle sales tumble down a rough path.

The Thief River Falls, Minn., snowmobile giant warned that its net loss for the quarter ended last week would be between 55 cents and 60 cents a share. That range is a much greater loss than the prior forecast for 30 cents to 37 cents. Analysts had been looking for a 32-cent loss, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Sales for the quarter will be somewhere between $155 million and $160 million, well below the $175 million the company had predicted and a big drop from the $228 million sales level in the year-ago quarter.

"After reporting seven consecutive years of record sales, we are disappointed with these results and the sluggish ATV environment," CEO Chris Twomey said in a press release.

The third-quarter shortfall caused the company to cut its fiscal 2008 guidance.

For the fiscal year ending in March, Arctic Cat expects earnings of between a penny and 7 cents a share. That compares with a profit of $1.15 a share in fiscal 2007. Analysts expected a 71-cent profit for the year.

The company says full year sales are now expected to be about $655 million, a big drop from the $782.4 million last year, and well below the $703 million analysts had been looking for.

Given the slump in demand, Arctic Cat says it will cut ATV production by 10% in the fiscal fourth quarter ending in March.

To help soothe investor disappointment, the company says it plans a $10 million share buyback.

Arctic Cat shares were down 16 cents to $12.03 in premarket trading Friday.