Coachmen Industries Inc. reported a $2.8 million net loss for the first quarter because of “negative consumer sentiment regarding the economy and the war in Iraq, which resulted in slower RV and housing sales,” according to Claire Skinner, chairman, president and CEO.
The New York Stock Exchange-listed company’s loss during the three months ended March 31 compares with a $600,000 net loss incurred in the first three months of 2002.
Coachmen’s total sales revenue declined 4% in the first three months of this year to $146.4 million and its RV-related sales revenue declined 1% to $107.4 million.
The Elkhart, Ind.-based company’s RV operations lost $1.5 million pre-tax in the first three months of this year, compared with a $600,000 pre-tax loss incurred during the same portion of last year.
“Despite the economic challenges felt throughout the (RV) industry, Coachmen’s production rate actually increased over the first quarter of last year, based on the strength of dealer orders,” Skinner said. “Backlogs remained comparable to last year for both motorized and travel-trailer/fifth-wheel product types.
“Our recreational vehicles are continuing to gain momentum with growth at both the retail and wholesale levels.”
Skinner said he is confident the trends will continue and will mean increased sales and production volumes and greater profitability.
“Though we clearly are not yet operating in a reasonably stable business climate, as the military action in Iraq draws to a favorable conclusion, we believe that consumer confidence could rebound rather quickly, which in turn should translate into healthy demand for our products during the balance of this year,” Skinner said. “If these conditions improve rapidly, we continue to believe that we could achieve our sales and earnings growth goals for 2003.”
In 2002, Coachmen reported net earnings totaling $9.9 million for the year on total sales revenue of $665.2 million. The company’s RV operations earned $1.9 million pre-tax on sales of $435.5 million last year.
Earlier this year, Coachmen forecast earnings growth ranging from 30% to 40% and sales growth of 8% to 10% for 2003.