Analysts Have Mixed Ratings After Black Diamond Releases Q4 Results

Black Diamond Equipment (NASDAQ: BDE) posted a disappointing quarterly report on March 16, but shares are up after the outdoor sports equipment company announced plans to “explore strategic alternatives” for its brands.

For the fourth quarter, the outdoor sports equipment company posted adjusted earnings per share of $0.09, an increase from $0.07 in the same quarter of last year but below the analyst estimate of $0.11. Black Diamond posted revenue of $59.425 million, up from $54.149 in the same quarter of last year but missing the analyst estimates of $61.6 million. However, sales increased 10% to $59.4 million. Looking forward, Black Diamond estimates 2015 sales of $208 million, or a potential 8% year-over-year increase.

Black Diamond also announced that it will be consulting Rothschild and Baird to “lead the exploration of a full range of strategic alternatives for each of the Company’s brands, Black Diamond, POC and PIEPS.” There is no timetable set for the strategic review process. Black Diamond focuses on climbing, skiing, and hiking equipment while POC primarily manufactures sunglasses and helmets for cycling and snow sports. PIEPS, lastly, manufactures emergency safety equipment.

On March 17, analyst Sean McGowan of Needham & Co. downgraded Black Diamond from Buy to Hold. McGowan noted that the company’s Q4 report was below estimates and that the company’s 2015 guidance “implies considerably slower growth than the company had previously projected.” He comments that Rothschild and Baird was hired to “unlock shareholder value,” but “some of which lies in the company’s large [net operating loss].” McGowan concluded, “We believe the potential that BDE’s brands could be sold (and the NOL value unlocked) could offset the negative effect of what is clearly a slowing growth rate. But we believe the current stock price captures the potential upside, when discounted for uncertainty, so we are reducing our rating to Hold.”

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