After repeated downsizing, corporate restructuring and
selling of product lines that sparked rumors and left
questions about the company?s future, Koala Corp.
is taking steps toward recovery.
Less than two years ago, the company looked to be in
trouble. That?s when it shocked many insiders by
divesting its $15.6 million Koala Kare Products, which
included its signature Koala Baby Kare baby-changing table.
By 2005, Koala had liquidated all its acquisitions except
SCS Interactive, its wet play group.
It was a long fall from its early heady days of
acquisitions. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the firm
obtained Activities Unltd., Smart Products Inc., Delta
Play, Park Structures, Superior Foam, SCS Interactive and
In 1999, its revenues jumped 94 percent and net income
grew 64 percent from the previous year. Forbes magazine
listed Koala in its annual 200 Best Small Companies for the
fifth consecutive year. But diluted earnings per share grew
only 30 percent, and cash flow underperformed net income.
Short-term debt increased to $31 million by 2000.
After the millennium, sales continued to grow, but
earnings per share declined by 25 percent. In 2002, Koala
underwent management and operations restructuring. In 2003,
it introduced the KoalaPlay Group Division as a
family-friendly play attraction designer and developer,
while still selling off properties.
Koala?s restructuring continued when Bryan
Merritt came on board as president in 2005. The company had
already cut its staff from 200 to approximately 50, through
liquidations of acquired companies. SCS is the only
remaining company at Koala.
Merritt, who has experience in turning around
manufacturing firms, said he wants to ?get back to
?[Management was] attempting to move everything
into a centralized structure,? he added.
?We?ll be keeping an independent
While Koala?s recovery is not yet complete, the
company remains healthy, said Steven Wagner, sales and
marketing vice president. ?We?re not
interested in selling,? he said.
?It?s a growing industry, and an
opportunity for the company to stay in business and grow