Specialty trailer and luxury bus conversion manufacturer Featherlite Inc. returned to profitability during the third quarter.

The manufacturer of Vantare-brand bus conversion motorhomes earned $106,000 during the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with a loss of $637,000 incurred during the third quarter of 2000.

However, after the first nine months of this year, Featherlite still is in the red almost $4 million. It earned almost $1.2 million during the first nine months of 2000.

The company’s third quarter sales were essentially flat at $51.6 million and its revenues were down 7% after the first nine months of this year to $173.7 million.

Expenses related to the closure of Featherlite’s Vogue Class A motorhome manufacturing plant in Pryor, Okla., were a significant part of the company’s losses earlier this year. However, the reduction in expenses as a result of closing the money-losing Oklahoma plant contributed to the firm’s return to profitability in the third quarter.

“We believe Featherlite is gaining market share in the bus conversion segment of the RV industry,” added Conrad Clement, chairman and CEO.