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Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s stock took a noticeable bounce Tuesday (Sept. 7), boosted by stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings as well as the anticipated positive impact of Hurricane Frances on sales.
Analysts noted Fleetwood’s stock has gained almost 40% since mid-August when Hurricane Charley struck Florida and relief efforts created heightened demand for RVs. Fleetwood ended Tuesday’s trading at $15.00, up $1.66.
“This should be their (Fleetwood’s) first profitable year in four years, so it’s kicking off to a good start,” said Bill Gibson, an analyst and partner with Nollenberger Capital Partners.
The company’s first-quarter report was buoyed by continued improvement in manufactured housing operations and strong performance in its motorhome division.
RV shipments for the quarter showed Class A and Class C motorhome deliveries increased 20% compared to last year. Conversely, travel-trailer and fifth-wheel deliveries declined 13% and folding-camper shipments were down 8% for the period.
Fleetwood shipped 3,245 gas- and diesel-engine Class A’s and Class C’s to its dealers compared with 2,694 in the same period a year earlier.
Travel-trailer and fifth-wheel shipments declined to 8,542 units versus 9,815 units last year, while folding-camper deliveries also declined to 2,720 compared to 2,967 a year earlier.
“The emphasis Fleetwood places on providing innovative products in the diesel and high-end gasoline (Class A) motorhome market continues to prove successful,” Fleetwood President and CEO Ed Caudill said in explaining the increase in motorhome shipments. “We are also making inroads with a renewed focus on the competitive Class C market.
“Concerning the company’s travel-trailer and fifth-wheel products,” he added, “we are very optimistic about the travel-trailer (and fifth-wheel) products that will be introduced over the course of the next several months, which are designed to enhance manufacturing efficiency and profitability, and compete at price points where we are presently underperforming.
“We also are rationalizing the folding-camper operations given the continued decline in this overall market.”
The decline in travel-trailer, fifth-wheel and folding-camper shipments apparently accounted for the Fleetwood RV Group reporting flat operating earnings for the May-through-July period.