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Highlights from Quiksilver's shareholder meeting

Bob McKnight with his mother,
Bob McKnight with his mother, Anne, at Quiksilver's shareholder meeting Wednesday
By Tiffany Montgomery
March 26, 2009 7:56 AM

I stopped by the Quiksilver shareholder meeting yesterday at company headquarters in Huntington Beach, where CEO Bob McKnight and CFO Joe Scirocco discussed fiscal 2008 financial results and plans for 2009.

The two acknowledged during their presentations it was a tough year for the company because of the sale of Rossignol and the low price received for the ski brand, the tightened credit markets and the company's challenges with liquidity and the contracting economy that led to the painful yet necessary restructuring and job cuts.

The sale of Rossignol was "the most financially and emotionally painful event" in Quiksilver history, Bob told shareholders.

Tom Holbrooke, Danny Bradley, Aaron Pai and Craig StevensonTom Holbrook, Darin Bradley, Aaron Pai
and Craig Stevenson, the new Quiksilver Americas president.

But it was also imperative to health of the company and a key accomplishment for the year, given that mergers and acquisitions had virtually ceased in 2008 because of the credit crunch.

Other highlights from the year included a 5 percent increase in company-wide revenues  in constant currency despite the economic slowdown, implementing cost savings measures to adapt to slower growth, a stabilizing business in Japan, the launch of Quiksilver Women's and the launch of e-commerce businesses in all regions.

Bob stressed the strength of the company's core brands, Quiksilver, Roxy and DC, and that he is confident Quiksilver can ride out the storm and prosper.

"We are still standing, still fighting" and still energized to take on challenges, he said.

Some product introductions this year include Threadline, a new line of denim for skateboarders; Roxy Athletix, workout clothes for young women 18 to 20 that will be sold in sporting goods stores, gyms, to teams and in other shops this year; and a Roxy partnership with JBL on audio products which will arrive in stores in May. Bob said the Quiksilver brand is also partnering with JBL on products, to be released at a later date.

Also in 2009, Roxy will announce a collaboration with a renowned designer, Bob told shareholders.

Overall, the company's goals for the year are:

  • Create great product and build brand integrity
  • Strengthen the balance sheet and create more liquidity
  • Adopt its company structure to a contracting market. The company is committed to evaluating the organization's cost structure
  • Work toward higher operating margins and cash flow to be ready for the economic rebound.

Unlike past years, the company is not expecting double-digit growth in 2009 but is committed to improving profitability even without a high growth rate, Joe said.

The Quiksilver story is a recovery story at the moment, Joe said, "It won't be quick and it won't be easy. ... But if we stay focused on the right things, we can do it."

 


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