Bell Sports Corp. First Quarter Results

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 26, 1999–Bell Sports Corp. announced today the results for its fiscal 2000 first quarter ended October 2, 1999. Net sales from ongoing operations for the quarter increased 20% to $46.9 million from $39.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 1999, (a net 15% increase including all operations).

The increase in sales is primarily attributable to strong U.S. sales in both the specialty retail and mass merchant channels. Gross margins improved to 36.5% from 33.1% in the prior year period. This improvement was led by production efficiencies resulting from the manufacturing consolidations completed in the Company’s fourth quarter of fiscal 1999.

Selling, general and administrative expenses remained a constant 27% of net sales for the quarter. First quarter EBITDA rose approximately 41% to $5.5 million from $3.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 1999. Net interest expense, net of interest income, increased to $4.1 million from $1.9 million in the comparable prior year period.

Net loss for the quarter was $104 thousand, compared to a net loss of $7.6 million for the first quarter of fiscal 1999. The prior year period included $6.9 million expenses related to the Company’s plan of recapitalization and merger with HB Acquisition and the Company’s debt tender offer for its 4 1/4% Convertible Subordinated Debentures due 2000.

Mary J. George, Chief Executive Officer commented, “We are very excited about our positive sales and operating results, and believe these results are the beginning of a strong fiscal 2000 for Bell. The robust sales in the US specialty retail and mass channels reflects the market’s enthusiasm for our new products, the strength of our brands, and the overall depth and quality of our product lines.

“Our entire company continues to be focused on investing in and creating superior products and meeting our customers’ expectations. I am also proud of all the efforts that our employees have made to capitalize on the manufacturing consolidation that we completed in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1999. A gross margin improvement of nearly three and a half points is tremendous.

“Finally, we completed the sale of Bell’s European manufacturing operations in this quarter. We are now operating only one manufacturing facility worldwide, at a capacity utilization of 90%, which should continue to bring us greater operating efficiencies.”

Certain matters in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.

These include but are not limited to: expected sales, profitability, cash flow, seasonality, adverse weather conditions, market acceptance of new products, competitive actions, relationships with major retail customers, retail environment, economic conditions, currency fluctuations and other risks indicated in filings from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Company is the leading manufacturer and marketer of bicycle helmets worldwide and a leading supplier of a broad line of bicycle accessories throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company also markets in-line skating, snowboarding, snow skiing and water sport helmets.

The Company markets its helmets under the widely recognized Bell, Bell Pro and Giro brand names, and its bicycle accessories under such leading brands as Bell, Blackburn, Rhode Gear, VistaLite, Copper Canyon Cycling and Spoke-Hedz.