Blue Bird Corp., manufacturer of Wanderlodge highline diesel pusher Class A motorhomes, has combined the administration of its nonschool bus business segments in a move apparently related to the disappointing financial results of its parent, Henlys Group plc, of the United Kingdom.
As a result, Wayne Joseph, who joined Blue Bird early in 2003, now is the vice president-general manager of Blue Bird’s RV and commercial coach operations. Joseph has 25 years experience in the commercial and transit bus business and, since joining Blue Bird a year ago, has led a successful program to improve the company’s RV and commercial coach products, said Jeff Bust, Blue Bird’s president and CEO.
Wanderlodge’s maintenance, purchasing and accounting-financial processes will be centralized and consolidated, moves that will result in the elimination of about 70 jobs, the Fort Valley,Ga., firm reported.
The value of Henlys stock fell by around one third in the U.K. earlier this week after the parent company reported that its fiscal year 2004 operating earnings would be around 20 million British Pounds (the equivalent of $36.8 million in U.S. currency) lower than previously forecasted. Newspapers in the U.K. cited difficulties at Blue Bird, at both its La Fayette and Fort Valley operations as the reason for Henlys issuing an earnings warning.
The London Times reported that Blue Bird’s motorhome order volume was disappointing and that the difficulties were compounded by “poor budgeting and forecasting by the previous management team.”
Although Blue Bird laid off around 500 employees in 2003, it has added 150 school bus assembly jobs since December to staff its new school bus production line, the company reported last week.