Dear Fellow Shareholders:
Momentum is building at Escalade. We achieved several important goals, including sales growth of 7% in the 4th quarter of 2010, net earnings for 2010 more than triple 2009 levels, and debt below $20 million. We have a clear strategy focused on Product Innovation and Brand Marketing designed to build long-term profitable growth. The third leg to our strategy is a focus on Expanded Placement of our products to assure broad participation of our brands with consumers and professionals in the U.S. and throughout the world. This plan is working and we are confident and committed to building outstanding shareholder value.
With the improvements we have made in the business, coupled with debt at a five year low, we have much greater flexibility to invest in new product innovations and other strategic growth initiatives. The new Carnage from Bear Archery® further demonstrates our technical achievements in the premium segment of the compound bow category. The Goalrilla™ brand has been extended beyond basketball systems to now encompass the broader Sports Training market. The new Goalrilla™ G trainer is a multi-sport training system, giving athletes playing soccer, baseball, lacrosse, and other sports the opportunity to heighten their skills. The intimus® product portfolio has been expanded beyond paper to meet the most secure business and government requirements for the destruction of optical, magnetic, and solid state media. In addition to shredders, the intimus® product range now includes degaussers, secure erase, data grinders, and disintegrators. Going forward, we are referring to this business segment as “Information Security and Print Finishing” which we believe more accurately describes this line of business today and into the future.
I would like to thank you, our shareholders, for giving us the opportunity to reshape Escalade into a platform for market leadership and profitability. It has truly been a team effort to achieve this turnaround in results since 2008. I am so proud of our employees, for their character, commitment, and capability to affect such change. We are pleased with our progress, yet we are far from satisfied. The Escalade team possesses so much talent that there is no doubt in our ability to achieve much greater results in the future.
We thank you for your support and interest in Escalade.
Robert J. Keller
President & CEO