Oct. 5, 2009 – Finance Digest

Harley-Davidson Inc. has named an internal candidate as its new chief financial officer.
John Olin Sr., 48, was announced as the new CFO, effective immediately. He has served as interim CFO of Harley-Davidson Inc. since May 1, and as Harley-Davidson Motor Co.’s vice president and controller since joining the organization in May 2003.
“John is a seasoned financial executive with domestic and global experience who is deeply knowledgeable about our business,” Keith Wandell, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson Inc., said in a press release. “He has also demonstrated strong leadership in guiding our financial group as interim CFO.”
As CFO, Olin will report to Wandell and have responsibility for all Harley-Davidson financial and treasury operations, as well as for investor relations, aviation and information systems.
Olin brings more than 25 years of financial leadership to the CFO role. Before joining Harley-Davidson, Olin served for 12 years in various domestic and global financial roles at Kraft Foods, Oscar Mayer Foods and Miller Brewing Co., including his responsibilities as controller of Kraft Foods’ cheese division. Earlier in his career, he held positions with financial services and specialized consulting firms including Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young). Olin holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Market exit hurts Gander Mountain’s 2Q bottom line
Outdoor retail chain Gander Mountain Co. felt the impact of its withdrawal from the boat, ATV and powersports services categories during its second fiscal quarter, which ended Aug. 1, it reported in a recent statement.
Consolidated net loss was $7.3 million for its second quarter compared to a consolidated net loss of $4.9 million for the same quarter last year, according to the company. The increased loss resulted primarily from discounts and markdowns associated with the withdrawal from powersports categories and increased advertising expense, the company stated.
Second-quarter sales were $248.4 million, compared to consolidated sales of $252.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2008, a near 2 percent decrease.
Retail segment sales for the second quarter were $210.8 million, a decrease of 1 percent, as compared to the fiscal 2008 second quarter. Direct segment sales were $37.6 million for the quarter, compared to $39.7 million for the same quarter last year, a decrease of 5.4 percent, Gander Mountain reported.
During the quarter, Gander Mountain substantially completed its withdrawal from the boat, ATV and powersport services categories. Excluding the negative 4.2 percent impact of these categories, comparable store sales were a positive 1.8 percent during the quarter, the retailer explained.

Sparta forms partnership with insurance provider
Sparta Commercial Services has formed an alliance with Dairyland Cycle Insurance, a member of the Sentry Insurance Group of Stevens Point, Wis.
The relationship will enable Sparta’s nationwide network of dealerships an expedited means of securing personal vehicle insurance covering new and preowned powersports vehicles for their customers. This network approach between participating dealerships, Sparta and Dairyland Cycle will provide an opportunity for consumers to purchase, finance and insure their new vehicle without leaving the dealership floor.
According to a press release, Dairyland Cycle structures its coverages and deductibles to meet riders’ individual needs and offers flexible payment options that fit their budgets. Dairyland Cycle provides coverage for a range of motorcycles, including high performance, touring, vintage, and custom motorcycles and scooters.
The alliance with Dairyland Cycle will enable customers who are financing their new or used powersports vehicle purchases through Sparta the chance to receive a free, no-obligation insurance quote from Dairyland Cycle.
“We have always believed that our financing and leasing program at the dealership level would be greatly enhanced by a side-by-side insurance program that could complete the entire financing and insurance activity simultaneously, but we had to find the right insurance ally,”?Anthony Havens, Sparta’s CEO, said in a press release. “Dairyland Cycle is the perfect fit. We’re very enthusiastic about the mutual benefits that this relationship will bring to Sparta, Dairyland, and our nationwide network of over 2,300 retail powersports dealers.”

Bridgestone reports net loss for its fiscal first half
Bridgestone Corp. reported a net loss in its first half after sales declined by more than
26 percent compared to a year ago.
Bridgestone reported a net loss of $421 million after recording a net profit last year in its first half of more than $400 million.
To return to profitability, the company in its earnings report said it is “focused on increasing sales of highly competitive products, strengthening supply capacity, improving manufacturing productivity, enhancing technological superiority and effectively utilizing management resources.”
Sales in the company’s tire segment decreased 25 percent from a year ago as the company reported a major decline in passenger car and light truck tire sales in North America.
The company’s Americas sales decreased 24 percent from a year ago.

Cooper Tire improves net income despite slower sales
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. improved its profits from a year ago, but still wound up in the red.
The global tire manufacturer reported a net loss of $13 million for its second quarter, an improvement over the year-ago period when the company experienced $22 million in losses.
Cooper attributed its improved position to manufacturing improvements and lower raw material costs. These were partially offset by lower sales volumes, production curtailments and slightly unfavorable price and mix.
This quarter’s net loss was significantly impacted by charges to discontinued operations of $37 million. Cooper Tire is closing its facility in Albany, Ga. To date, the company has incurred $99 million of restructuring costs related to the closure of the facility. The total restructuring costs are estimated to be $120 million to $145 million. Production in Albany is now expected to cease at the facility by October, ahead of original estimates.
Net sales for the period were $632 million, a decrease of 18 percent from the prior-year quarter. Its North American tire operations generated sales of $427 million during the second quarter, down 22 percent during the same quarter a year ago.
PIAGGIO GROUP makes changes in its Spanish market
The Piaggio Group’s board of directors has approved a plan to reorganize its presence in the Spanish market.
The Piaggio board voted for partial separation of the assets of the Spanish company Nacional Motor S.A.U. (100 percent owned by Piaggio & C. S.p.A.) in favor of Piaggio & C. S.p.A. The decision, following a similar one passed by Nacional Motor S.A.U. on Sept. 11, will align Nacional Motor’s set-up and commercial activities in Spain with the organizational and business model the Piaggio Group applies worldwide.
The plan involves separation of the Nacional Motor organizational unit concerned with marketing and product development and the shared staff and services functions for allocation to the parent company.

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