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Bus-conversion, motorhome and specialty aluminum-trailer manufacturer Featherlite Inc. had a difficult first quarter, but a rebound that began in the second quarter continued in the third quarter of this year, according to the company.
The Cresco, Iowa company’s sales revenue increased 13% in the three months ended Sept. 30 to $45.7 million, compared with $40.6 million a year earlier.
Featherlite’s net income in the July-through-September period amounted to $467,000, which represented a 38% decline when compared with the $753,000 the company earned a year earlier. However, Featherlite’s earnings in the third quarter of 2002 were inflated by a one-time-only $535,000 income tax benefit.
The negative impact of the first quarter is reflected in Featherlite’s year-to-date financial performance. Its sales were down 9% in the first nine months of the year to $134.8 million and its net income was down 76% to $689,000.
“Management believes the buildup to the war in Iraq coupled with a slow national economic recovery had a chilling effect on both consumer confidence and buying patterns in the first quarter of 2003 that only now are showing signs of improvement,” according to a company statement.
“With improved operating results in the third quarter, we continue to be encouraged by Featherlite’s earnings rebound following the first quarter of this year,” added Conrad Clement, chairman and CEO.
The company’s motorcoach order backlog remained strong in the third quarter and its specialty trailer backlog increased substantially in the period, Clement said. Consequently, Featherlite’s gross margins improved because of more efficient production.
“Though cautious, we look forward to sustained growth and improved bottom-line performance in the fourth quarter and beyond as the economy improves,” Clement said.