Thanks to strong increases in RV and housing and building sales, Coachmen Industries Inc. earned $660,000 in the first quarter, partially offsetting the $2.8 million net loss it incurred during the first three months of 2003.
Coachmen reported a net loss during the first quarter of last year largely because the RV market was weak because of consumers’ fears about a war with Iraq. Coachmen’s RV operations posted $1.5 million pretax profit in the first three months of last year, compared with a $2.5 million pretax profit earned during the first quarter of this year.
The New York Stock Exchange-listed company’s RV-related sales revenue increased 43% during the three months ended March 31 to $154 million, compared with $107.4 million a year earlier.
“Demand for our recreational vehicles is strong and we have successfully mitigated the parts shortages that hampered our operations during the fourth quarter and early parts of this year,” said Claire Skinner, chairman and CEO. “Our expectations for 2004 are materializing and Coachmen is off to a solid start for the year.”
Factory-to-dealer shipments of Coachmen RVs were up 16% in the first quarter, with most of the increase resulting from demand for its motorhomes. Coachmen’s Class A motorhome shipments were up almost 42% in the first quarter, including a 115% increase in diesel-pusher deliveries. Its Class C motorhome shipments also increased almost 43% compared with the first quarter of 2003.
In the towables sector, shipments of Coachmen folding campers were up 16.5%, but travel-trailer deliveries were up a marginal 0.9% and fifth-wheel shipments increased 3.3% versus the first quarter of last year.
Coachmen’s RV dealer order backlog was up 33% as of March 31 so the company increased its production rate by almost 11% and acquired a 114,000-square-foot plant from competitor Jayco Inc. about a month ago.
Jayco also reported selling a 126,000-square-foot building to Coachmen in a transaction revealed on Friday (April 23). Jayco plans to vacate that plant in July.
Both former Jayco plants are north of Middlebury, Ind., near I-80/90, also known as the Indiana Toll Road.
Coachmen will build towable RVs in the recently acquired plants, including Coleman by Coachmen units under the terms of a licensing agreement with The Coleman Co.