The manufactured housing industry remains in a deep recession but Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. intends to buy several struggling dealerships so it could be in a strong position when the industry recovers, President and CEO Ed Caudill told The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., earlier this week.
The move by Fleetwood, a major manufactured home builder, into manufactured home retailing was one of the reasons why it encountered severe financial difficulties the last two years. Fleetwood sold or closed 50 of its manufactured home dealership locations because of that industry’s slump.
But Caudill said there are manufactured home dealers who are struggling now who “are actually good dealers” and Fleetwood does not want “to let good markets stay open.”
Earlier this week, Fleetwood reported its first quarterly net profit in nine quarters, earning $4.6 million during the three months ended Oct. 27, largely due to the $17 million operating profit posted by its RV manufacturing businesses.
Fleetwood’s manufactured home building business reported an operating profit of $4.4 million during the August-through-October period, but its manufactured home retailing operations reported an $8.6 million loss for the period.
Caudill said the consumer demand for manufactured homes is stable but cheap financing created excess dealer inventories which will eventually be sold-off.