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Cobra Posts Gain In Operating Income

Cobra Electronics cut costs and improved its operating income in its third quarter, while reporting declines in net sales and net earnings.

Operating income increased to $793,000, from $17,000 in the prior year’s quarter, but was eroded by a loss of $318,000 in the cash surrender value of life insurance that the company carries to recapture the costs of deferred compensation programs for certain current and former officers of Cobra, the company reported.

Increased operating income was generated by improved gross margins and reduced operating expenses, offsetting a decline in net sales to $33.2 million, from $39.3 million in the prior year’s third quarter.

Net income for the quarter was $142,000, down from $404,000 in the previous year’s third quarter.

On a year-to-date basis, Cobra reported net income of $1.9 million, compared with a loss of $750,000 in the prior year.

“We are pleased with Cobra’s improved operating income in the third quarter and our turnaround for the year-to-date,” said Jim Bazet, Cobra’s chairman/CEO.

In net sales for the quarter, mobile navigation sales in the Cobra segment accounted for approximately $1.2 million of this decline, reflecting the company’s strategy to discontinue development of mass-marketed mobile navigation products for the North American market and focus its efforts on niche opportunities.

Additionally, sales of two-way radios, radar detectors and citizens band radios declined due to weak store traffic and competitive pressures. International sales for the Cobra segment increased relative to the prior year’s quarter primarily due to the strength of the two-way radio line in Canada.

Bazet concluded with the company’s outlook for the fourth quarter of 2008, and reaffirmed earlier guidance and remains “cautious” about the course of the economy.

Cobra said it expects to meet its goal of returning to profitability in 2008. “We only selectively pursue niche opportunities in mobile navigation in North America and store traffic moderates. This pattern is likely to be evident in fourth quarter results, as we anticipate lower revenue but an improved bottom line relative to the prior year.”