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Coachmen Industries Inc. is considering a variety of alternatives related to its money-losing Miller Building Systems unit, including a possible sale of the subsidiary, which Coachmen acquired only two years ago, according Chairman, President and CEO Claire Skinner.
Skinner issued her statement during a conference call with investment analysts Tuesday (Oct. 22). The conference call can be heard over the Internet during the next 29 days at www.companyboardroom.com.
Miller makes modular structures primarily to house telecommunications equipment. It was acquired by Coachmen in November 2000, and, Skinner said, “At the time, the telecommunications business was very strong and we found it to be very attractive. None of us foresaw the subsequent downfall, decline in the telecommunications business, and that is exactly what’s hitting us now.”
Consequently, Skinner said, “We are looking at all of the alternatives in terms of trying to reduce its losses, to diversify it into nontelecommunications sectors and other alternatives as well.”
Then, in response to a question from analyst Robert Male of Kornitzer Capital Management, Shawnee Mission, Kan., Skinner said a sale of Miller is among the options Coachmen is willing to consider.
Male then replied, “You’re in a very attractive industry (RVs). The average purchaser of a motorhome is between 52 and 55 and the growth rate for 55- to 60-year-olds over the next 10 years is 48%. And 4.1% of the population age 55 to 60 own motorhomes.
“You can’t find industries like that out there right now,” Male continued. “I don’t know why you’re in the telecommunications business. I think you should just sell it.
“The (RV) industry has the wind at their back,” Male added. “You don’t even have to take market share. I think you should just build the best motorhome that you could possibly build, and people will buy it.”
Skinner said she agrees that the RV industry “is a great place to be,” and Coachmen CFO Joe Tomczak thanked Male for his advise.