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Rayovac Sales Up 5.8%

Madison, Wis. – With alkaline battery sales driving its business, Rayovac recorded a 5.8 percent increase in sales for its fiscal third quarter, hitting $159.1 million, compared with $150.4 million in the same three months last year.

Alkaline sales for the quarter increased a ‘robust’ 25 percent due to recent distribution gains and continuing share growth, especially in the mass merchandiser channel. These sales increases were offset by declines in specialty battery sales, due to the continued sluggishness of the consumer electronics and telecommunications industries, said the company.

Operating income before special charges rose to $21.5 million in the third quarter, an 8.6 percent jump from the $19.8 million registered in the third quarter of 2000. Pro forma net income increased 17 percent increased 17 percent to $9.5 million, up from $8.1 million in the same quarter last year.

Rayovac said third-quarter sales were fueled by strong growth in total general battery sales, up 15 percent year-over-year, and driven by strong growth among alkaline SKUs. The substantial increases in general and alkaline battery sales were offset by a $4.2 million decrease in sales of specialty batteries and a $3.2 million decline in flashlight and lantern battery sales, compared with the year-ago three months.

Sales in North America rose 7 percent to $119 million, up from $111.5 million in the same quarter last year. This increase was driven by 19 percent growth in total general batteries, led by alkaline types.

Rayovac said its general battery unit sales are up 8 percent vs. a year ago for the 12 weeks ending June 30, compared with total industry general battery unit sales, which are flat, according to A.C. Nielsen data.

Rayovac said its general battery unit share now stands at 20.1 percent, up from 18.7 percent in the same period last year, according to Nielsen figures. The company’s alkaline battery unit market share stands at 14.6 percent, compared with 14.1 percent in the prior-year period, again, according to Nielsen data.

In the mass merchandiser channel where about 40 percent of all batteries are sold, Nielsen figures place Rayovac at about a 36 percent unit share of total general batteries, up from 34 percent in the year-ago period, said the company.

For the nine months, Rayovac sales reached $487.9 million, a 2.8 percent decrease over the $501.8 million recorded in the year-ago nine months. Operating income dropped 6.9 percent to $58.2 million, compared with $62.5 million in the first nine months of 2000. Pro forma net income decreased 12 percent to $22.5 million, down from $25.6 million in the year-ago nine months.