Specialty aluminum-trailer and bus-conversion motorhome manufacturer Featherlite Inc. reports it earned a marginal profit during the fourth quarter and that its earnings for 2003 were sharply lower than 2002.
More recent developments paint a brighter picture.
“However, as we entered 2004, orders remained very active,” Featherlite President and CEO Conrad Clement said. “At Dec. 31, our total backlog was 85% greater than at Dec. 31, 2002, with trailers ahead 74% and motorcoaches 106%. Since then, our backlog continues to increase well above first quarter levels in 2003 and was 114% ahead at Jan. 31.”
The company, which markets conversions of Prevost bus shells under the Vantare brand name, earned $16,000 during the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a net loss of $182,000 incurred during the final three months of 2002.
However, Featherlite’s earnings for all of 2003 amounted to $705,000, which represents a 74% decline from the $2.7 million it earned in 2002.
Because of the sharply lower earnings, Featherlite “will require defaults from lenders on certain financial covenants” but the company “is confident that these waivers will be granted,” Clement said
The firm’s total sales increased 2% during the October-through-December period to $45.2 million, compared with $44.3 million a year earlier. Its overall 2003 sales declined 7% to $180 million, compared with $193.2 million in 2002.
“Despite stronger performance in the third quarter and a surge in December trailer sales, we did not meet our expectations in the fourth quarter of 2003,” Clement said.