Brunswick's business is everyone else's free time. The company is a global manufacturer of marine, recreation, and fitness products. Its largest business segment, marine engines, comprises outboard, inboard, and sterndrive engines, propellers, and control systems. The company also makes pleasure craft, sports fishing convertibles, offshore fishing boats, and pontoons. Its residential and commercial fitness segment includes treadmills, cross trainers, stair climbers, and stationary bicycles, sold under brands Life Fitness and Hammer Strength. Brunswick's bowling and billiards arm produces game equipment and operates fun centers. More than 40% of sales are made outside the US.
Sales in 2011 increased 10% over 2010, thanks to strong in demand in all the company's sectors. International demand especially accounted for strong growth in the marine engine, fitness, and boat segments.
Year-over-year sales for the marine engine segment rose 9% as the result in part of higher wholesale shipments. About 60% of Brunswicks's research and development expenses -- averaging about 3% of the company's net sales -- are devoted to this segment. The marine engine segment's global sales network includes more than 4,000 marine dealers, distributors, and marine retailers and service centers that sell its engines to end-users.
The engine segment, as well as the boat segment, is undergoing consolidation to concentrate production into fewer plants. That strategy lay behind the transfer of sterndrive engine manufacturing operations from Stillwater, Oklahoma, to a plant in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 2011.
Additionaly Cummins MerCruiser Diesel Marine LLC, a partnership between Brunswick and Cummins Marine (a division of Cummins, Inc.) is being dissolved and will be replaced by a supply agreement between the two companies. The partnership supplies integrated diesel marine propulsion units to commercial and recreational marine markets, as well as to Brunswick's boat business,
Also supported by more wholesale shipments, the boat segment's year-over-year sales in 2011 rose 11%. Some 2,000 boat dealers and distributors market its lineup of boats. The business' largest dealer, Marine-Max Inc, has multiple centers and delivers about 20% of that segment's sales. The boat segment is switching its manufacturing strategy from a brand-based footprint to multi-brand production sites. In 2011 Brunswick sold its fiberglass fishing boat business, Triton Boats to Fishing Holdings (part of Platinum Equity).
Fitness did well behind demand for new equipment from global commercial customers, rising 17% year-over-year in 2011. Brunswick's Life Fitness segment jockeys for the lead in supplying equipment to health clubs, as well as to professional sports facilities, the military and government organizations, hotels, and schools around the world.
Year-over-year bowling and billiards rose slightly, by just almost 1%, in 2011 thanks in part to better capital equipment demand in the bowling products business. The company's bowling and billiards business is its smallest and oldest business segment (established in 1845). It manufactures a full-line of bowling and billiard products, from balls to aftermarkets parts, and capital equipment such as bowling lanes and furniture. It also operates about 100 bowling centers in the US, Canada, and Europe. Amid a slew of minor contenders, Brunswick is one of two of North America's largest bowling and billiards makers and marketers. – less