The largest introduction of new snowmobile models in Arctic Cat's history plus strong sales of side-by-side all terrain vehicles helped the company exceed analysts' expectations for yearly sales and earnings.

The Plymouth-based maker of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles saw a 26 percent increase in net sales and an 130 percent increase in net income for Arctic Cat's just-completed fiscal year.

For the year-ended March 31, Arctic Cat reported sales of $585.3 million compared with sales of $464.7 million for the previous year. The company's earnings of $29.9 million, or $1.92 per diluted share, was up from $13.0 million, or 70 cents per diluted share. Analysts were expecting sales for the year of $579.5 million and earnings of $1.69 per share.

"Double-digit sales gains in our snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicle segments were fueled by the introduction of innovative products and technologies," said President and CEO Claude Jordan in the company's earnings release.

Arctic Cat's new 2012 model lineup, with 23 all-new snowmobiles, helped drive snowmobiles sales up 38 percent to $250.4 million, compared with $182 million the previous year. According to the company, Arctic Cat had five of the top-10 snowmobile models for the 2012 model year.

The fourth quarter is typically one of the company's slowest, but the company reported net sales of $98.5 million, up from $73.5 million in the fourth quarter last year, a 34 percent increase. The company reported a net loss of $6.2 million, or 49 cents per share, an improvement over the prior-year fourth quarter when it lost $9.6 million, or 52 cents per share.

The company's outlook for the 2013 fiscal year is a little less rosy. It's assuming industrywide ATV and snowmobile sales in North American will be flat and could range from being down to 5 percent or up to 2 percent. But the company is expecting to do better than the industry and offered guidance for fiscal 2013 sales in the range of $631 million to $650 million, an increase of approximately 8 percent to 11 percent compared with fiscal 2012.

Shares of Arctic Cat were down almost 15 percent in morning trading as analysts were expecting a stronger sales outlook for 2013. The consensus 2013 sales estimate among six analysts covering Arctic Cat was $659.7 million.

Arctic Cat is expecting earnings per diluted share of $2.40 to $2.50, a 40 percent to 45 percent increase over fiscal 2012, and the consensus analyst estimate was $2.70 per share.

Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926