The Acushnet 2020 financial report is out and, in true Rocky Balboa fashion, the former champ has regained its crown.
Acushnet is once again the king of golf.
Acushnet is reporting 2020 net sales of $1.612 billion. While that’s down just more than four percent from 2019, it noses out Callaway’s 2020 net sales of $1.589 billion. That’s more of a split decision than a TKO but, hey, a win is a win.
More importantly, Acushnet posted a $96-million net profit for 2020. That’s down nearly 21 percent from 2019’s results but, after losing nearly two months due to COVID-related shutdowns, it’s enough to make even the strictest of bean counters smile.
Acushnet 2020 Financials – The Fourth-Quarter Breakdown
Like Callaway, Acushnet is reporting a big finish to 2020. Fourth-quarter sales topped $420 million, up more than 14 percent over Q4 of 2019. Net profits for the quarter topped $21 million, a nearly 21-percent increase over last year.
“Acushnet’s momentum continued to build through the fourth quarter, resulting in reported sales gains across all segments and regions,” says Acushnet CEO David Maher in a statement. “We look forward to introducing a full lineup of exciting new products for the upcoming 2021 golf season.”
For the quarter, Titleist golf club sales jumped by nearly $23 million (21 percent) largely due to the new TSi metalwoods. All Acushnet segments were up in Q4: FootJoy by more than $16 million (19 percent), Titleist golf gear (hats, bags, balls) by nearly $6 million (25 percent) and Titleist golf balls by $3.6 million (three percent).
The increase in ball sales is interesting as it was driven primarily by sales from PG Golf. Based in Sugarland, Texas, PG Golf is the world’s largest wholesaler of recycled and refinished golf balls. Acushnet acquired PG Golf in 2018.
That increase helped offset lower sales volumes of Titleist balls, primarily the Pro V and AVX. Demand for both balls was still high but availability was not, largely due to COVID-mandated U.S. ball plant shutdowns in Q2.
Globally, every region reported strong Q4 performance. The U.S. was up more than 16 percent in the quarter with sales totally nearly $212 million. Europe and Japan reported smaller increases while Korea saw sales jump 17.5 percent to more than $68 million.
Callaway Q4 sales, by comparison, totaled $375 million. That’s a 20-percent increase over Q4 of 2019.
2020: It Coulda Been Worse
Remember last spring when everyone was predicting the golf industry was going to crash and burn? Massive gear liquidations were sure to lead to at least one major OEM going under.
Acushnet damned near matched its 2019 sales performance despite losing two full months of sales in the spring. 2020 came in at $1.612 billion, just $69 million less than t2019, a four-percent decrease.
By product category, Titleist golf balls sales dropped the most. For the year, ball sales reached nearly $508 million, down eight percent from 2019. Titleist club sales fell nearly four percent to just over $418 million worldwide. Volumes were down across all models, although the SM8 wedges released in Q1 and the new TSi metalwoods released in Q4 softened the blow considerably.
FootJoy sales dropped six percent and Titleist golf gear sales were almost flat compared to 2019, dropping by only $600,000 or 0.4 percent. In both cases, lower volumes were offset by higher average selling prices.
Globally, Korea was the only territory reporting an increase over 2019, with sales totaling $246 million – a 10-percent year-over-year increase. Japan was the big loser with sales dropping nearly 17 percent. In the U.S., Acushnet sales topped $839 million which was still a five-percent drop from 2019.
Profit, of course, is why businesses exist. And Acushnet was able to put a bit of a shine on 2020 by posting a $96-million net profit for the year. That’s still down nearly 21 percent from those wild and carefree times of 2019.
EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) is being reported at $233 million for the year. That’s down nearly three percent from 2019 but is still a respectable number considering the circumstances.
Acushnet 2020 Financial Reports: More Tidbits
Pandemic or not, businesses still gotta business. Included in the Acushnet 2020 financial report are plenty of interesting items. First, the company launched a five-year, $120-million investment in golf ball operations and precision manufacturing. Specifically, the company is focusing on innovations and technology to enhance the speed and efficiency of golf ball operations.
A new North American distribution center in Indianapolis went live in Q4. The facility consolidates warehousing and distribution and will be a centrally located e-commerce fulfillment center. Custom embroidery capabilities will be added to that facility.
Acushnet spent $17.5 million on what is termed “Extraordinary, Unusual or Non-recurring Items” in 2020. That number includes more than $13 million in salaries and benefits paid to employees who couldn’t work during the spring shutdown, costs to support remote work, additional health and safety equipment and spoiled raw materials.
In Q4, Acushnet wrote off a goodwill impairment of $3.8 million on its 2019 purchase of KJUS, the high-end European golf and ski wear company. As we learned in Callaway’s 2020 report, a goodwill impairment is taken to get an acquisition’s book value in line with its actual value. During Q2 of 2020, Callaway wrote off a $174-million goodwill impairment on its 2018 purchase of Jack Wolfskin. Even though it was an accounting procedure and not an actual cash loss, that impairment played a key role in Callaway’s $127-million net loss for 2020.
The 2021 Outlook
Like Callaway and pretty much every other company on the planet, Acushnet is stepping softly when it comes to predicting what will happen this year. Like Callaway, Acushnet is not providing investors with any guidance for 2021 at this time. And, like Callaway, Acushnet is staying fairly liquid with nearly $150 million of cash on hand with another $392 million available in revolving credit.
Acushnet is declaring a cash dividend of 16.5 cents per share for Q4, something Callaway did not provide due to its reported $41-million net loss for the quarter.
It goes without saying that we are not nor do we claim to be financial experts or investment counselors. We’re just golf geeks who like to read. That said, watching Acushnet’s stock history is kind of interesting. Last March, Acushnet stock stood at $21.15 per share. Since then, we’ve seen a relatively steady rise to a high two weeks ago of $47.15 per share. There have been plenty of bumps in the road because it’s the stock market and these things happen.
Prices spiked at the close of business Wednesday before the Acushnet 2020 financial report was released. Within minutes of yesterday’s opening bell, prices fell a full $2 per share before closing at $43.99. Callaway stock has been on a similar climb, bottoming at $5.34 per share last March. It peaked at $31.74 in February prior to Callaway’s 2020 financials. It has dropped some, standing at just over $27 per share now.
And while Acushnet has reclaimed the throne as golf’s biggest company, it won’t last long. Callaway investors are expected to approve the company’s merger with TopGolf early next month. That move is expected to push Callaway into another financial stratosphere.