13 Aug. 2010

Columbia to acquire OutDry Technologies

Columbia, based in Portland, Oregon, is paying an undisclosed amount in cash to Italian company Nextec S.r.l. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of this year. Nextec co-founders and brothers Luca and Matteo Morlacchi will serve as CEO and general manager, respectively, of OutDry Technologies S.r.l. OutDry will remain headquartered near Milan, Italy, and continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia.

“Columbia’s acquisition of OutDry is the latest example of our strategy to build a portfolio of innovative technologies that deliver performance and protection benefits of greatest importance to outdoor consumers,” said Tim Boyle, president and CEO of Columbia. “We view OutDry’s proprietary construction methods, under development since 1998, as the ‘gold standard’ for producing waterproof, breathable footwear and gloves that outperform products still relying on the 25-year-old method of internal booties and bladders.”

Columbia has a lot of places it could put this technology to work in its own product line such as for footwear brand Sorel, Montrail, Mountain Equipment Mountain Hardwear already uses OutDry in its Epic Gloves and other models.

What makes OutDry unique and creates keen competition for market leader Gore-Tex is OutDry’s patented and patent-pending construction methods. OutDry bonds a waterproof, breathable membrane directly to the inside of the outermost layer of a shoe or glove, thereby preventing water or dirt from penetrating to internal air spaces and fabric layers, a drawback commonly found with products that rely on bulky booties or bladders. OutDry improves waterproof, breathable performance, reduces water-weight gain, maintains insulation capacity, and improves fit and dexterity, resulting in greater comfort. Preventing water penetration beyond the outermost layer may also help reduce the incidence of mold, mildew and bacteria that often develop when internal fabric layers become wet.

Columbia reported net sales of $221.8 million for the second quarter in 2010, a 24% increase compared to net sales of $179.2 million for the same period in 2009.
Regina Henkel

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