Montreal — Dorel Industries Inc. today released results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012. Revenue rose 2.2% to US$621.1 million from US$607.8 million a year ago. Net income was US$29.2 million or US$0.91 per diluted share, compared to last year’s US$31.2 million or US$0.94 per diluted share.

Noting that the first quarter of 2011 was the prior year’s strongest, Dorel President and CEO Martin Schwartz said that momentum thus far in 2012 is good after a tough 2011. “Last year was characterized by a good start, difficult second and third quarters and a reversal of that negative trend in the final quarter. I am pleased that we are continuing to move in the right direction. Recreational/Leisure continued to drive results, posting its best quarter ever on the back of a strong 2011. Powered by brand building, continuing innovation and growing distribution across the globe, sales grew in both the IBD and mass merchant channels. There has also been operational improvement at our Apparel Footwear Group (AFG).

“In the Juvenile segment, first quarter 2012 operating profits approached a level not seen since the beginning of last year. While there remain issues to contend with, we have made considerable progress. We are feeling more encouraged about our US juvenile business and we must continue to work hard to make it better. Despite the difficult economy in many European countries, we have solid operations there which have performed well under challenging circumstances. Brazil is recovering as planned and Chile is performing well, as expected.

“In Home Furnishings sales were up quarter-over-quarter, however product mix dampened margins. The growing importance of the Internet retail distribution channel for Home Furnishings has continued into 2012 and still offers even more opportunity for us. Corporate-wide, we have done a good job in maintaining the proper inventory levels which should translate into the generation of solid cash flow in 2012,” concluded Mr. Schwartz.

Juvenile Segment

The Juvenile segment had its best quarter since the same quarter a year ago. Revenue was flat with the corresponding period in 2011, but increased 12.5% quarter-over-quarter. Organic revenue decreased by approximately 4% after removing the Dorel Chile and Dorel Polska acquisitions as well as the impact of varying exchange rates year-over-year. In the U.S., comparative quarter sales were lower, but versus the fourth quarter, increased by over 10%. Sales in Europe in local currency were consistent with the prior year, despite the difficult economy in several of the Company’s markets.

Dorel Brazil increased its sales as it has successfully broadened its product line. Dorel Chile contributed to both the revenue and earnings improvement. As an indication of the Company’s stated objective of diversifying its markets, sales to customers outside North America and Europe accounted for approximately 15% of the segment’s first quarter total revenues.

Recreational/Leisure Segment

The revenue growth of 2011 continued into the first quarter of 2012 with sales increasing in the IBD channel in the U.S., Europe and Japan. The Cannondale, GT, and Mongoose brands are doing especially well in Europe. CSG Canada also contributed to the sales growth with strong spring shipments to certain key customers. While more modest, sales were also up to the segment’s mass merchant customers as favorable weather conditions helped drive consumer demand. Operating profit for the quarter was the highest ever in the segment’s history, dating back to 2004. The AFG apparel division was a positive contributor to earnings and its turnaround is on track.

Home Furnishings Segment

The first quarter revenue decrease in the Home Furnishings segment was mostly due to reductions in sales of imported ready-to-assemble and folding furniture. In addition, the prior year’s quarter benefited from strong shipments of initial customer roll outs, and this did not re-occur in 2012. These declines were partially offset by the continued growth in sales to the Internet retail sales distribution channel. While input costs were stable versus last year, segment operating profit was lower due to the impact of decreased revenues and a less profitable sales mix.

Other

The 2012 first quarter tax rate was 14.6% versus 13.7% in the prior year. The Company has stated that for the year it expects its annual tax rate to be between 15% and 20%, and despite the lower rate recorded in the first quarter this expectation remains.

Quarterly dividend

The Board of Directors of Dorel declared its regular quarterly dividend of US$0.15 per share on the outstanding number of the Company’s Class A Multiple Voting Shares, Class B Subordinate Voting Shares and Deferred Share Units. The dividend is payable on June 8th, 2012 to shareholders of record as at the close of business on May 25th, 2012.

Outlook

“Juvenile had its best quarter since the same period a year ago and we are encouraged that things are moving in the right direction. Operational improvements and new product introductions will help drive the turn around. This, along with the contribution of Dorel Chile as well as earnings improvements in Brazil, make us confident that 2012 will be better than 2011. While our juvenile divisions around the world are well positioned within their respective marketplaces, uncertain economic conditions and volatility in currencies leave us cautious about our outlook,” commented Mr. Schwartz.

“Dorel’s bicycle business continues to grow its revenues and earnings, and all indications are that this momentum will be maintained. Sales improved from the fourth quarter and this positive trend should continue. While still a small part of the Recreational/Leisure segment, there has been substantial improvement in the AFG apparel division and this will also help earnings. The Home Furnishings segment experienced a challenging second quarter in 2011 and we are expecting this year's second quarter to be better than last year. The segment is expecting continued growth in the already strong Internet retail channel,” concluded Mr. Schwartz.

Source: Dorel Industries

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