Madison, Wis. - Even with double-digit sales growth in alkaline and rechargeable batteries, Rayovac reported a 2 percent dip in overall sales for its fiscal fourth quarter, moving down to $187.6 million, compared with $191.5 million in the same three months last year.
Fourth-quarter year-over-year sales included a 27 percent increase in rechargeable battery sales and a 10 percent increase in alkaline sales. The increases, said Rayovac, were a direct result of new distribution gains, continued share growth with existing customers as well as the rollout of new products in the rechargeable segment.
Gains in alkaline and rechargeable types were offset by a $10.4 million decline in specialty battery sales, which continue to be plagued mainly by the severe downturns in the computer, electronics and telecommunications sectors, according to Rayovac.
Sales in North America during the fourth quarter, ending Sept. 30, declined 5 percent, to $143.1 million, down from $150.3 million in the year-ago three months. Year over year, North American general battery sales were up about 5 percent due to strong alkaline and rechargeable battery sales.
Pro forma net income in the fourth quarter was $8.7 million, down from a pro forma $12.7 million in the same quarter in 2000. The company recorded $3.5 million in special charges in the quarter.
Rayovac's general battery market share in units increased 40 basis points, to 18.8 percent in the fourth quarter. For the same 12-week period, general battery dollar sales increased 10 percent, compared with 5 percent for the total industry, said the company.
In the alkaline segment, Rayovac's 12-week dollar share was 11.2 percent, compared with 10.9 percent in the prior-year period. Rayovac alkaline sales increased 8 percent, while the total alkaline market in dollars increased 5 percent during the same period, according to the company.
For the fiscal year, Rayovac sales dropped 3 percent, to $675.5 million, down from $693.3 million in the previous fiscal year. Pro forma net income dropped to $31.1 million for the 12 months, compared with $38.4 million the previous year. The company recorded special charges of $22.3 million for the full fiscal year.
Total general battery sales were up nearly 4 percent in the 12 months, powered by solid alkaline and rechargeable battery sales.