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Brunswick boat, engine sales up in third quarter

Brunswick Corp. reported higher sales of boats, engines and parts and accessories in the third quarter, leading to overall revenue growth of 13 percent over 2013.

Total net sales were $932.1 million for the quarter, up from $824.4 million a year ago. Net earnings came in at $61 million, up from $57.2 million in 2013.

The Mercury Marine Group, which includes the parts and accessories businesses, again led the way for the marine business. The group had net sales of $566.9 million, up 11 percent. U.S. sales were up 9 percent, with sales up 35 percent in Europe and 2 percent in the rest of the world. As has been the case for the last several years, strong results for the outboard and parts and accessories segments were partially offset by continuing declines in sterndrive sales.

Brunswick is also continuing to pursue more acquisition opportunities, especially in the parts and accessories business, such as this year’s additions of Whale and Bell RPG, said Brunswick CEO Dusty McCoy.

The boat segment continues to struggle, although losses were less than a year ago. Operating loss for the quarter was $7 million on earnings of $234.6 million, compared with a loss of $16.9 million on earnings of $191.7 million in 2013. Boat segment revenue was up 31 percent in the U.S. and 36 percent in Europe, with a 2 percent decline for the rest of the world.

The boat segment is benefiting from higher price points on boats this year, said CFO Bill Metzger, pointing out that while sales are up 22 percent in dollars, they’re only up 7 percent in units.

McCoy said the company is continuing improved profitability in boats and solid growth from the engines segment, although an unusually cold and wet spring in Canada has continued to slow sales there. On the other hand, the U.S. market has rebounded better from the long winter.

“U.S. sales [for the year] are right where we thought they would be – not sure if that means they’re all made up,” McCoy said. “In Canada, we clearly did not get that made up there, so my hope is that there is pent up demand we can get in 2015.”

An “aggressive pace” of new products introductions should help to meet some of that demand based on reaction so far to products being rolled out, McCoy said.

Download the full earnings report at brunswick.com/investors/.

 

 


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Philippines: Reviving the lost art of sailing in Palawan

Few locals sail in Palawan now. The Bacuit Bay island-hopping vessels rely on
motors, while local families use small engine boats for fishing. Paduga
dreams that learning to sail again will help Palawenos escape dependence on
fuel, while fostering a deeper understanding of and respect for the sea.

Palawan Province is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. A quarter of the Philippine
archipelago’s 7,107 islands are in this least-populated region. It is often
sited as the country’s “last ecological frontier” because its pristine
ecosystem is endowed with habitats of coral reef, mangrove, rare fauna and
marine life and half of its original forest cover remains intact.

El Nido (The Nest) sits at mainland Palawan’s northerly edge and is the entry
point to Bacuit Bay. In the “Bacuit”, we dropped anchor by Pinagbuyutan
Island, the ocean lit by a full moon.

Limestone cave on Cudugnon Island. Photo: Alamy

My fellow guests were a Swedish couple, Rebecca and Mattias, who entertained
me with their far-flung travel stories, and Englishman Alex, now a
Philippine resident.

Together, we ate dinner at a bamboo table on deck, feasting on squid and whole
white snapper, quenched by beer and rum. I fell asleep snuggled in the
safety of a bunk in the cabins which slept 15.

The next morning, we snorkeled amid pastel-shaded coral gardens and spied
stunning fish varieties: sweetlips, stripy sergeant majors and startling
parrotfish. In Pinasil and Cudugnon islands, we clambered through caves and
discovered towering limestone chambers and church-like rock formations.


Batalik is a large-scale version of a native double outrigger boat Credit:
Katherine Jack

The journey north, to Cadlao Island, provided time to admire the Batalik up
close. Intricate tribal patterns embellished the exterior. “I wanted to
represent the Pala’wan tribe,” said Gener Paduga. During the build, he
invited two of the tribe’s master carvers to engrave the timber. The
Pala’wan indigenous group were once nomadic and now live predominantly in
the southern highlands, making a living as farmers and hunters.

I stood next to the captain, Toto, in his designated cabin, watching him use
both the engine and sails to cruise when the wind dictated direction. “I
made that,” he said, looking down at the ship’s wheel. A master carpenter by
trade, Toto was part of the boat-building team and is now a permanent member
of the crew.

Palawan’s ecosystem includes coral reef, mangrove, rare fauna and marine
life. Photo: Alamy

At the shore of Cadlao’s wild beach, the shallow water was opal green. I took
one of the kayaks tied to the Batalik and paddled past teams of flying fish
and alongside a sea turtle swimming near the bay. The island interior is
luxuriant forest, hiding wooden lodges perched on stilts. This is where we
slept, at Tao Basecamp, serenaded by an orchestra of birds and crickets.

Back onboard ship, the Habagat Wind gathered force. Paduga ran the length of
the deck, adjusting the lines. The engine stopped and the sails took charge.
Excited laughter passed through the ship and we broke out into a round of We
Are Sailing. “That’s the way of the Philippines,” said Toto, “too much
joke.”

Giggles were often heard escaping from the kitchen, accompanied by fragrant
wafts of spice and garlic. Chef-cum-sailor Gerald, alongside sous chefs
Aldrin and Gerik, cooked up delectable seafood and vegetable dishes and even
made fresh pasta and pancakes. “Not homemade pasta, but boat-made pasta,”
said Aldrin.

Our final 24 hours were spent in the northerly reaches of mainland Palawan,
sleeping in beach huts at the Tao Organic Farm in San Fernando. Here I
wandered through plots of tropical and cold-climate crops, spotting papaya
and pumpkin.

San Fernando is also the headquarters of the Tao Kalahi Foundation, Tao’s
charitable arm. Out of season, the Batalik will become a tool to teach young
people sailing skills. Tao was founded by Filipino-born Eddie Brock and a
Briton, Jack Foottit, who believe that sails could replace the engines of
local fishing boats, if they can reignite a passion for sailing again. Last
month, Brock explained, “around 50 boys learned the basics. Most of them had
heard that their grandfathers sailed a long time ago, but this is their
first experience of it.”

Girls playing in the water of El Nido Bay, with Cadlao Island in the
background. Photo: Alamy

The Tao Foundation also supports communities on nearby islands. We crossed the
bay by speedboat to meet the residents of Daracotan. Twenty-five families
occupy a village of nipa palm huts, the texture of grass skirts. Adults sat
out on shaded verandas, accompanied by the distant whirr of chainsaws
cutting coconut lumber.

This crop is central to Palawan life and is used in everything from cooking to
furniture making. I chatted to Jane and Rosa Lee, who, through a Tao
initiative, gained a livelihood by making and selling coconut oil to passing
guests.

In the shallow bay, young children raced toy polystyrene boats with playing
card sails. It looked such fun we were compelled to join in and Paduga got
hands-on, altering and improving their designs.

My journey ended in El Nido town, where the hectic, tourist-tout scene was a
strident contrast to the tranquil expedition. It was also a sign of
Palawan’s burgeoning popularity.

Sailing, I discovered, is the perfect pace to explore the prehistoric
landscapes and astounding ecology of this pristine Asian hideaway. One day
perhaps a fleet of full-size paraw will sail in Palawan.

Essentials

The Sailing Paraw Expedition is booked through Tao Philippines
(info@taophilippines.com; taophilippines.com).
The tour covers the remote islands of northern Palawan and Bacuit Bay. The
final itinerary is decided according to the current sailing conditions.

A three-day/three-night group expedition costs $368 (£215) per person. The
price includes full board and a donation to Tao Kalahi Foundation projects.

Getting there

Philippine Airlines (0063 2 855 8888; philippineairlines.com)
flies direct from Heathrow to Manila from £814 return. Cathay Pacific (020
8834 8888; cathaypacific.com)
flies via Hong Kong from £828 return.

For transfers to Palawan, Island Transvoyager Inc (ITIAIR) offers the only
direct flight from Manila to El Nido (2 851 5664; itiair.com).
Guests who stay at El Nido Resorts receive priority booking. Philippine
Airlines flies from Manila to Puerto Princesa; the journey to El Nido takes
six hours by taxi.

Where to stay

Manila

£££ Raffles (2 555 9777; raffles.com/Makati)

The classic Raffles hotel is recreated in Makati, Manila’s popular finance
district. There is a choice of spacious colonial-style suites, with original
artworks and wooden floors. Rooms are available in the adjoining Fairmont
Hotel, which shares pool, spa and restaurant facilities. Raffles has an
exclusive rooftop pool and the legendary Raffles Long Bar, which is open to
non-guests. Suites from $352/£205, including breakfast, as well as afternoon
tea and evening cocktails for two.

Palawan

£££ El Nido Resorts (2 813 0000; elnidoresorts.com)

Four resorts sit under the El Nido umbrella, providing luxury private island
accommodation. There is a range of sleeping options from water villas on
stilts to deluxe sea-view rooms. All have exceptional views of Palawan’s
karst landscapes. The resort quality varies from the dated décor of Miniloc
to the high-end design and privacy of the new and deluxe Pangulasian. The
company has a strong sustainability remit to support the local environment.
Cottages from $476/£278, including transfers, full board, activities and
guided tours.

££ The Alternative (926 702 9530; thealternativeinn.com)

These rustic cottages and villas are on a private beach, or cliff-top, on
Kudugman Island, in the Bacuit Archipelago. Enjoy unrivalled views and
complete serenity, until the tour boats arrive at peak times. It’s a
great-value private island option, though like much of El Nido, there is
only electricity between 2pm and 6am. Cottages from $195/£114, including
transfers from El Nido town, full board, kayaks and snorkelling equipment.


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