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Originally published September 30, 2009 at 1:31 PM | Page modified October 1, 2009 at 9:26 AM

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Nautilus seeks to sell commercial business

Nautilus (ticker NLS) on Tuesday announced it will try to sell its entire commercial fitness equipment business to focus solely on the consumer side.

The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash

Nautilus on Tuesday announced it will try to sell its entire commercial fitness equipment business to focus solely on the consumer side.

The Vancouver, Wash.-based company is actively seeking buyers for its commercial manufacturing facility and three warehouses in Virginia as well as the StairMaster cardio brand and related stepper and StepMill lines. It is also selling a commercial indoor cycling line and commercial strength and cardio equipment including the Nautilus ONE strength line. It will consider selling all of the commercial business assets and liabilities at once or in pieces.

Nautilus will retain Bowflex, Schwinn, Nautilus and Universal direct-to-consumer and retail brands.

"We believe this divestiture ... will enable us to improve margins, utilize capital more efficiently, and focus our organization on the branded consumer fitness business, where we see superior growth opportunities," Edward Bramson, chairman and chief executive officer of Nautilus, said in a statement.

While its commercial equipment is manufactured on the East Coast, the main sales office for the equipment is in Vancouver. It's unclear whether the sale of the commercial division would effect Vancouver employees. Nautilus did not respond to requests for information on the local impact.

The company announced the strategic shift to its consumer business in August after a second-quarter loss of $20.8 million. Retail and direct sales businesses were profitable while the commercial business was losing money.

Nautilus, which employs 350 in Vancouver, has already undergone significant downsizing in recent years. The company laid off 50 employees from its Vancouver headquarters in March and cut its lease short in July on 80 percent of the four-story building it used to fully occupy.

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