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Home IS THE WORM TURNING?

Just one short year ago Callaway Golf reported fourth quarter sales of $120 million and a net loss of $70.8 million. In 2013, the fourth quarter saw sales move to $127 million, a modest improvement. The bottom line remained in red ink as it recorded a net operating loss of $45.3 million for the period. Looking back on the year, sales for 2013 were $843 million versus $834 million in 2012. The company said it had a net lost of $22.25 million for 2013 versus a net loss of $131.4 million in 2012. 

"We are pleased with our financial results during the first full year of our new operating model," stated Chip Brewer, President and Chief Executive Officer in a company press release. "Despite challenging market conditions throughout much of the year, we were able to grow sales of our current business, on a constant currency basis, by 14%.  This sales growth, together with the benefits resulting from the many actions we have taken this year to improve our operations, have a resulted in a $74 million improvement in non-GAAP operating income and even more on a GAAP basis. In fact, this year we achieved positive operating income on a non-GAAP basis for the first time since 2008, which is an important milestone in our turnaround and clear evidence we are on the right track.

"We have made great progress to date in our turnaround," continued Brewer. "In addition to refocusing our business on golf equipment and more performance-oriented products, leveraging our strengths in research and development, and changing our approach to sales and marketing, we have also retired all of our preferred stock, increased our presence on tour, and completed the transition of our golf ball and golf club manufacturing platforms. The progress we made continued through the fourth quarter with improvements in sales, gross margins, and operating expenses. We believe that this continued progress and the initial positive trade reception to our 2014 product line position us for a good start to the new golf season and a return to creating shareholder value in 2014."

Callaway is targeting 2014 sales in the range of $880-$900 million, compared to $843 million in 2013. Foreign currency rates will have an impact on these numbers as the year progresses, Callaway advised. Operating expenses are estimated to be up $19 million to approximately $345 million, compared to $326 million in 2013. The increase in expenses is due to planned investments in tour and marketing, higher variable sales related expenses, and inflationary pressures. But Callaway management is calling for it to return to profitability in 2014. Fully diluted earnings per share are estimated to range from $0.12 to $0.16 per share on a base of 78.0 million shares.