Polk Audio earnings fall 58% in 4th quarter

Baltimore company's sales declined 19%


May 19, 1999|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Polk Audio Inc., a Baltimore-based loudspeaker maker that has transferred many of its jobs out of state, yesterday reported a 58 percent drop in net earnings for the fourth quarter.

The company said in March that it expected at least a 40 percent drop in earnings for the quarter, which ended March 28.

Earnings fell to $560,000, or 30 cents a share, compared with $1.3 million, or 71 cents a share, for the corresponding period a year ago. Net sales for the quarter were down 19 percent to $17.1 million.

Polk recently announced that it will go private. The company announced two weeks ago that it had purchased 581,167 shares of its common stock in a self-tender offer for up to 860,000 shares at $12 per share. Friday will be the last day Polk common stock can be traded on the American Stock Exchange.

The decision to privatize was made because of its small stockholder base and its infrequent trading activity, officials said. The company designs and manufactures speakers for home and automotive markets. It sells directly through specialty retailers in the United States, Canada, Britain and Germany, and through distributors in about 45 countries.

In 1997, the company announced that it was laying off 20 employees and moving its warehousing, servicing and manufacturing jobs from Baltimore to San Diego. Two years earlier, Polk said it was moving most of its speaker production from Baltimore to Tijuana, Mexico, where workers were making $2 per hour vs. the $12 per hour paid to workers here.

Net sales for the year were $71.8 million -- up 33 percent from the prior year's $54.2 million. Earnings rose 138 percent to $2.6 million.

Pub Date: 5/19/99

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