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Arctic Cat 454

Arctic Cat Inc.

600 Brooks South

Thief River Minnesota 56701

Fax: 681-3162

Employees: 1,700

$484.01 million (2000)

Exchanges: NASDAQ

Ticker ACAT

NAIC: 336999 All Transportation Equipment; 315211 Men s and Boys Cut and Sew Apparel Contractors; Women and Girls Cut and Sew Other

One of the pioneers as well as leaders in its Arctic Cat Inc. designs, and sells Arctic Cat snowmobiles, vehicles (ATVs), and generators, as as related parts, accessories, and Based in Thief River Minnesota, Arctic Cat was formed in under the name Arctco, to continue the legacy of snowmobile Arctic Enterprises, Inc. went bankrupt in 1981.

In 1996 Arctic Cat officially itself after its most known product, the Arctic Cat Arctic Cat has firmly established as a leading producer of snowmobiles and ranking third in market in snowmobile sales and fifth in share in ATV sales. Arctic Cat production facilities in Thief Falls, Minnesota, and Madison, Dakota.

In early 1996, the entered the market for ATVs and has become an industry leader, that by the end of fiscal 2001 ATV will be equal to the company s snowmobile sales. Arctic Cat its Personal Watercraft Division in after steadily declining The company manufactured the Tigershark of personal watercraft and despite the production of new units, it still Tigershark parts, accessories, and through its 1,200 North dealerships and its 40 distributors worldwide.

When Edgar Hetteen saw his snowmobile, his reaction was immediate, no question about his feelings. I wouldn #x2019; t have to do with the thing at first, he later recalled, #x201C; I my brother-in-law, David [Johnson], he had our time and money building it and I no more of it. #x201D; For someone who spend nearly every hour for the next ten years to arouse widespread enthusiasm in Hetteen #x2019; s words a decidedly chilly beginning to would become a lifelong affair. Hetteen, who would go on to the predecessor company to Arctic Cat by doing so, position himself the handful of pioneers in the U.S. industry, was more concerned at the about his farming equipment company than the curious that greeted him upon his in Roseau, Minnesota.

The year was and Hetteen had just returned a sales trip, his latest at turning his company, Hetteen and Derrick, into a flourishing It was proving to be a difficult task. Far from more populated, markets, Hetteen Hoist and was struggling in its eighth year of scoring only a modicum of as a custom fabricator of specialized implements and tools.

Hetteen s latest business trip had lackluster results, and he initially was with Johnson #x2019; s Before long, however, one of the #x2019; s preeminent snowmobile was established, spawning the creation of Cat snowmobiles and a new form of winter for millions of people.

Johnson s prototype had been built at the of a local resident, Pete who asked the manufacturer to fabricate a gas-powered sled. #x201D; The from the sale of Peterson s snowmobile enabled Hetteen and Derrick to make payroll, Hetteen #x2019; s view and shortly thereafter another local placed an order for a sled, as demand for the novel machines began to build. By the end of the of 1955-56, Hetteen #x2019; s had constructed five snowmobiles; the winter 75 machines were and during the winter of 1957-58, than 300 snowmobiles were by Hetteen and his workers.

In the space of a few years, the primary business of #x2019; s company had switched fabricating farm equipment to and testing machines designed for travel. Hetteen, by this was hooked.

For years, Hetteen had endeavored to the straw cutters, post and other equipment his company to markets outside Roseau, but had little success. With he sensed the opportunity to achieve the that had eluded him with machinery.

Early on he realized to make his new product a success in markets it would have to be as a recreational device, but during the 1950s public interest in was essentially nonexistent, a hurdle would overcome by launching an public relations campaign. In 1960, Hetteen and three of his took their snowmobiles to and completed an 1,100-mile trek Bethel to Fairbanks in 18 days, the attention of newspaper reporters, writers, and ham radio operators.

returned to Roseau pleased by his in piquing public interest in but his arrival home did not meet applause or congratulatory pats on the Hetteen Hoist and Derrick had been renamed Polaris Inc. and capitalized by local who were somewhat miffed Hetteen had abandoned his duties at and gone to Alaska.

As this over the future course of the was being played out, was approached by a group of investors Thief River Falls, Led by L.B. Hartz, a successful broker and supermarket owner, the offered to financially back if he moved his company to Thief Falls; Hetteen declined, and in May two months after completing his trek in Alaska, Hetteen his controlling interest in Polaris and to Alaska, where he hoped to a new career as a bush pilot and

Hetteen #x2019; s second to Alaska was not as successful as his first. several months of working at airstrips as a pilot and mechanic, decided to accept Hartz s offer and renew his interest in building, and testing snowmobiles. By 1960, when Hetteen in Thief River Falls, arrangements already had been to provide him with a co-signed for $10,000, which he used to a vacant 30- by 70-foot grocery and start his new business, Polar Company.

1962: Birth of Cat

Polar Manufacturing opened its on January 2, 1961, and initially electric steam cleaners and a to kill insects called Bug-O-Vac #x201D; to raise money to begin snowmobile in earnest. The first snowmobile, the New Polar 500, #x201D; was by the end of the year and marketed as a utility for use by forestry, power and light, and oil exploration companies.

Although had wanted to develop snowmobiles as a product nearly from the of his involvement with the machines, he he needed to develop a need for before he could begin to a desire for them. In 1962, its inaugural year of business, Manufacturing was renamed Arctic Inc.

That year it the red #x201C; Arctic Cat 100, the first front-engined sport in the United States, which referred to as the #x201C; Tin Lizzie. Concurrent with the introduction of the Cat 100, a distribution network was to carry the machine to distant as Hetteen had always hoped. the New Polar 500 had been the first produced, the Arctic Cat 100 represented the of an era for both Arctic Enterprises and enthusiasts across the country, in a new winter sport and launching the Cat tradition.

Distributor relationships forged throughout a wide ranging from New York to as the fledgling company sought to a foothold in distant markets. were 19 distributors signed up for the winter season and 13 Arctic Cat up from the six offered the previous

During the first half of the the company #x2019; s sales encouragingly, propelled by the increasing of models produced each and supported by a steadily growing network, but annual profits not demonstrating the same vibrancy. inability to post consistent growth #x2014; the company $20,000 in 1964 on $750,000 in #x2014; was part of the reason decided to step down his leadership position in 1965 and the reins of command to Lowell

Hetteen, literally, had spent all of his time during the previous trying to make a successful manufacturing company; now as his company was on the of success he decided that a new was required to push Arctic over the edge. Hetteen from the bustling activity Arctic Enterprises but he did not disappear Years later, Hetteen return, but during the interim, Enterprises would grow the flourishing concern he had long

When Swenson became of Arctic Enterprises in 1966 he one goal of the company #x2019; s clear: #x201C; We [will] on one machine, #x201D; he vowed, and make it a damn good #x201D; True to his word, spearheaded the effort toward a snowmobile that could the company into the future, to an end the era of the red Arctic Cats after the winter season to make for the black #x201C; Panther. Debuting in 1966, the Panther technological breakthroughs that sales and, most profits upward for the remainder of the

Company Perspectives:

The Arctic Cat name has existed for more 30 years and is among the most recognized and respected names in the industry .

In 1968, Arctic generated $7.5 million in three times the amount the year before, and posted in net income or eight times the recorded in 1967, ending the worries about profitability. In annual sales continued exponential march upward, $21.7 million, while net eclipsed the $1 million plateau, to $1.2 million.

Business was with the company holding a grip on nearly 12 percent of the market for snowmobiles, a percentage perhaps could have higher, but the two shifts working the lines at the Thief River facilities were not enough to the mounting demand for Panther As the company prepared for the 1970s, it the 1960s with a full of steam and high expectations for growth. Production facilities expanded greatly in anticipation of demand and a line of snowmobile was introduced to give the company a diversified footing in the rapidly snowmobile industry.


The 1970s began as expected, the company #x2019; s annual soaring 113 percent to reach million, its market share to 13 percent, and its net income jumping to million. Prosperous times Arctic Enterprises the ability to further, providing the financial to acquire boat manufacturer Inc. of Moorhead, Minnesota, the #x2019; s first major acquisition, and to introduce mini-bikes on the both of which became of the company #x2019; s operations in

The following year, Arctic moved farther afield, lawn and garden manufacturer Leisure, and then, in 1973, a line of French-made bicycles. By point, however, the luster of Enterprises operations had dulled The years of robust growth over as quickly as they

The line of bicycles proved to be and General Leisure proved to be a mistake, leading to its divestiture in But these ancillary businesses the least of Arctic Enterprises problems. The demand for snowmobiles off during the early years of the beginning their downward in 1971 and resulting in Arctic #x2019; most disastrous in 1974.

If it was any consolation for the employees and in Thief River Falls, who in the of a few months had watched their rise screech to a halt, Enterprises was not alone in its downward Across the country, snowmobile were reeling from the effects of depressed demand, many going out of business. In when the snowmobile industry was there were more 100 brands of snowmobiles on the market; by when the worst of the harsh times was over, the number of on the market had plunged precipitously to a 13.

As harmful as waning snowmobile had been to Arctic Enterprises business, however, conditions in the after the shakeout was completed the Thief River Falls in what could be regarded as a position. Much of the competition in the States had been weeded and Arctic Enterprises continued to as the largest producer of snowmobiles in the

Recovery was quick in the late sufficient enough to enable the to finance the acquisition of its second manufacturer in 1977, when Enterprises purchased the Lund Company and gained control of its facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Canada. Sales by the end of the year with $100 million, $99 million, while the company s market share had been by the departure of many of its competitors, to an impressive 25 percent.

The following in 1979, sales soared 61 to $175 million, by which the number of snowmobile manufacturers in the had been whittled down to Once again business was and the company was exiting the 1970s as it had ended the 1960s, with its interests moving forward on all

1980s: Reincarnation of Arctic Cat

To the of the workers and management at Thief Falls, history continued to itself in the decade ahead, as the 1980s paralleled the early and rampant growth quickly This time, however, the were much more Sales in 1980 climbed to million, despite a decline in sales throughout the country, but by far the telling and most depressing figure for the year was the company s profit total.

Arctic lost $11.5 million the year, a staggering blow was followed by another $10 million the following year. As production in 1981 fell to their levels since 1969, the who had granted the company loans the years became disgruntled and Worried that the company not be able to make good on its promises, the bankers called for the of $48.5 million in loans on 6,1981.

Eleven days Arctic Enterprises filed for under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Act. In a year that would have been as the company #x2019; s 20th year, Arctic Enterprises was financially.

Key Dates:

1955: Peterson commissions #x201C; #x201D; sled from Hoist and Derrick. 1958: become primary business of Hoist and Derrick, later Polaris Industries. 1960: sells controlling interest in Industries.

1961: Hetteen operations to Thief River Minnesota, and founds Polar Company. 1962: Polar is renamed Arctic Enterprises, Arctic Cat 100, the first sport sled, is introduced. Annual sales reach million.

1970: Arctic acquires Silverline Inc. of Minnesota. 1977: Lund Company is acquired. 1981: plummet and bankers call Enterprises #x2019; $48.5 in loans; company files for 1983: Arctco, Inc. is by Edgar Hetteen and investors.

Arctco, Inc. goes 1993: Company enters watercraft industry. 1996: produces the first of its all-terrain (ATVs); Arctco changes its to Arctic Cat Inc.

1997: Cat opens a distribution center in Ohio. 1999: Arctic Cat its Personal Watercraft Division.

The could not have been but even as steps were taken to liquidate the snowmobile and the rest of the company was being piecemeal, there were encouraging reports that at seemed to underscore the strength of the Cat name in snowmobile circles the country. Even though the #x2019; s production facilities had shuttered, the demand for Arctic Cat had increased. Remarkably, sales up high enough for the company to 38 percent of the U.S. market one after production had stopped, ample evidence that to and confidence in Arctic Enterprises products remained high.

Dead but not forgotten, Arctic was etched in the memories of its loyal some of whom vowed to ride a snowmobile again. The of the company also was etched in the of its former employees, the pangs of led a small group of former to attend the auction of Arctic #x2019; various properties.

in this group was Edgar who returned to witness the dismemberment of the he had left nearly 20 years by the end of the day the group had acquired enough of Enterprises #x2019; properties to a new snowmobile manufacturing company, was incorporated as Arctco, Inc. in As company advertisements would announce, the Cat was back, and for the legions of customers the return of the popular Cat snowmobiles was welcome news.

acquiring the production rights and the use of the Arctic Cat brand name, made preparations to get its product to beginning production of its snowmobiles in 1983. The less than snowmobiles made for the 1984 year sold out quickly, the company to generate $7.3 in sales and post $600,000 in

All of Arctic Cat #x2019; s trademarks, and manufacturing properties were subsequently in 1986 and 1987, much of the luster formerly by Arctic Enterprises. Sales and rose energetically throughout the of the decade, reaching an encouraging million and $12.5 million, by the end of 1990, the year Arctco a publicly traded company.

the first half of the 1990s, continued to enjoy impressive making its entry into the watercraft market and recording percent annual growth in and 21.7 percent annual in net income. By 1994, when the generated $268.1 million in Arctco had surpassed the revenue recorded by Arctic Enterprises its … knell had reverberated Thief River Falls in As the company planned for the late and the new century ahead, prospects for growth were encouraging, confidence that the coming would bring continued to the thriving company.

During the the North American snowmobile was expanding at a 20 percent annual while the market for personal (PWC), the company #x2019; s primary business area, was annual gains in excess of 30 In 1993 when Arctco its PWC division by introducing its Tigershark earnings remained strong and the infrastructure looked very once again.

In addition, had established a new company presence in the where dealers agreed to the Tigershark brand of PWC and its line of The next few years, however, the PWC division unable to establish a foothold in the industry and by 1998 PWC were down by 7 percent and the #x2019; s watercraft future uncertain.

While Arctco s watercraft division was floundering, opportunities for financial growth opened to the company when it its first foray into the for all-terrain vehicles, a $1.2 industry during the mid-1990s was recording nearly 20 percent growth. In January 1996, #x2019; s first four-wheel-drive and utility vehicle, the Bearcat rolled off the company #x2019; s line, giving Arctco a cross-seasonal product line to its growth in the years ahead.

finding it difficult to assert in the competitive field of PWC, seemed to have found its in the ATV arena. Following an aggressive campaign targeted at its ATV products, posted a net earnings figure up 39 for 1997.

By the end of 1998 PWC sales for the company significantly down and, with increasing competition and a loss of market share, announced its plans to exit the industry beginning in September The company #x2019; s decision to out of PWC manufacturing came at the high cost of $26.2 million, or per share; the total cost to a hefty $16.9 million taxes.

In the midst of its expansion snowmobiles into cross-seasonal such as PWC and ATVs, Arctco its name in August 1996 to Cat Inc. The company had been by its dealers to rename itself. The than 1,200 independent nationwide were convinced the Arctic Cat brand name had name recognition with customers and potential shareholders did the previously used Arctco.

high customer brand in recreational and utility vehicles, the reasoned that products by Arctic Cat Inc. would with greater enthusiasm those manufactured by the little Arctco.

In 1997 the newly Arctic Cat continued its strong into the ATV market. The company its success to producing vehicles competitive features while the lowest sticker price in class. Arctic Cat continued to significant numbers of new ATV models and in it produced its line of 300s, both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive

Arctic Cat 454

When asked about the #x2019; s plans to expand for the ATV market, company spokesperson Blackwell told Dealernews . The new 300 #x2019; s are not the last of it. We will additional new models #x2026; during the next year. We are a driven company and will to what the customers are asking #x201D;

In keeping with its approach Arctic Cat surveyed ATV and its research indicated that the uses of ATVs were for recreation. The company #x2019; s own from the D.J Brown Composite and Arctic Cat Inc. indicated 41 percent of ATV buyers used vehicles for recreation, 23 percent for or fishing, 12 percent for farm or use, 7 percent for hauling and 7 percent for transportation, and 1 percent for use.

The numbers further that the typical buying was 3.6 years. Arctic Cat continued to its line of vehicles accordingly, ATVs and snowmobiles to meet the needs of its customers.

In 1997 Cat reconfigured its means of supplying by establishing a new distribution center in Ohio. The new distribution center s location was chosen in part it was located near a United Service (UPS) hub in Columbus, The new 225,000-square-foot center allowed the to move its products out quickly and and also to free up much production space at its Thief Falls manufacturing facility.

In Arctic Cat faced litigation. Research Specialists Inc. and Industries filed suit the snowmobile manufacturer, maintaining Arctic Cat, in purchasing from Fuji Heavy a Japanese supplier of a two-… fuel injection system, had trade secrets. A similar had been filed against Cat #x2019; s major competitor a year earlier but with results.

The suit against Cat was dismissed in December 1998, the suit against Polaris in the defendant being ordered to pay million, with a total litigation cost to Polaris of million.

Although fortunate in its battle Arctic Cat suffered big toward the end of the 1990s. Snowfall was down in 1998 and 1999 and earnings fell from $25 in 1998 to $7.6 million in

Despite heavy losses Cat invested in new manufacturing technology in The CAD/CAM/CAE technology was as sophisticated as technologies used by aerospace and companies and allowed Arctic Cat to major improvements in design and Company engineers could now greater precision when a machine and the company saved in producing its pre-production molds.

The result was that the company its design ability, its production and, therefore, customer

While working on better for the snowmobile division, Arctic Cat a million-dollar safety campaign for riders of ATVs. According to the Consumer Product Safety (CPSC), more than ATVrelated deaths had occurred 1982. #x201C; Four out of 10 involved children under the age of 16. The new safety campaign utilized an CD-ROM game and was sent of charge to schools and libraries and was to families who purchased ATVs.

early snowfall in the closing of 2000, Arctic Cat #x2019; s net income quintupled to $21 million. The new saw Arctic Cat introducing a new line of snowmobiles to meet with and government interest in snowmobiles were quieter and more friendly. The top-of-the-line sleds given a trial at Yellowstone Park during the 2000-01

The U.S. Department of the Interior that snowmobiles would be from use in Yellowstone starting in The four-… technology was aimed to the environmental concerns and put Arctic Cat once more on the cutting of product development.


Areico FSC, Inc. Virgin Islands).


Polaris Industries, Inc.; Inc.; Yamaha Motor Kawasaki Motors Corp.


Autry, Ret, Arctco, #x201D; Fortune . 19, 1990, p. 174.

Campbell, #x201C; Shareholders of Minnesota Arctco Inc. Approve Change to Arctic Cat, Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News . 18, 1998.

Copeland, Julie, Lawsuit Against Minnesota Snowmobile Maker Dismissed, Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News . 18, 1998.

Cory, Matt, Firms Advised to Rethink to Address Labor Shortage, Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News . May 20,

Davis, Ricardo A. #x201C; #x2019; s Arctco Leaps All-Terrain Vehicle Market, Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News . 9, 1996, p. 40.

Farrell, Michael, Arctic Cat Buys Back #x201D; Boating Industry . 1998, p. 20.

#x2014; #x2014;. Snowmobiles, ATVs Drive #x201D; Boating Industry . 1998, p. 18.

#x201C; Gas Assisted Produces Lightweight Bumper, Design News . August 25, p. 29.

Harfiel, Robin, #x201C; Cat, #x201D; Dealernews . 1997, p. 30.

#x2014; #x2014;. Arctic Cat #x2019; s 250 2 + 4: Carving Out a in the ATV Market, #x201D; Dealernews . 1998, p. 28.

#x2014; #x2014;. Bear Market. #x201D; . July 1997, p. 36.

Malmange, #x201C; CAD Got Your Model. Tooling and Production . February p. 42.

Martyka, Jim, #x201C; Is No Game for ATV Firms, #x201D; St. Paul City Business . 28, 2000, p. 7.

#x201C; New Powder or Ice #x201D; Business Week . 17, 1992, p. 123.

Ramstad, Legend: Arctic Cat #x2019; s Quarter Century . Deephaven, PPM Books, 1987.

#x201C; 2000 Report Card, Western Wireless, GK Services, Cat, #x201D; Forbes . 5, 2001, p. 192.

#x2014; L. Covell

#x2014; update: B. Culligan

Arctic Cat 454
Arctic Cat 454
Arctic Cat 454

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