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Specialty aluminum trailer and bus conversion motorhome builder Featherlite Inc. reported it lost $637,000 during the third quarter.

The company’s loss during the July-through-September period compares with a profit of $1 million earned during the third quarter of 1999.

The manufacturer of the Vantare and Vogue brands of bus conversions also reported its third quarter sales revenue declined 3% to $51.7 million.

“Our third quarter sales in the luxury motorcoach division were well below our expectations, even with our cautious outlook for sales in that segment of our business,” said Conrad Clement, chairman and CEO. “In response, we have implemented extensive expense reduction measures, including unit volume and staff reductions in the motorcoach division.”

Featherlite also postponed the opening of a sales and service facility in Statesville, N.C., until sometime during 2001. Originally, the plan was to open the North Carolina facility around the end of this year, Clement said.

Although the company’s motorhome order backlog is increasing, Clement added, “We remain cautious about the near-term outlook,”

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Featherlite reported its earnings were down 68% to $1.2 million although its sales revenue was up 11% to $187.3 million.