Spartan Motors Inc., parent to motorhome supplier Spartan Chassis Inc., reported a net loss for its fourth quarter on an increase in sales.

The Charlotte, Mich.-based company incurred a net loss of $3 million, or 9 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $2.5 million, or 7 cents per share the year prior. Sales for the quarter rose 1.6% to $126.5 million.

Spartan said gross margin in the quarter was 11.8% of sales versus 10.6% a year ago while its operating loss was $4.2 million compared to $2.8 million. Spartan noted that fourth quarter and full year 2013 results include adjustments that increased income tax expense by $0.7 million related to valuation of various deferred tax assets recorded on its balance sheet.

For the full year, sales were flat at $469.5 million compared with $470.6 million the previous year while Spartan reported a net loss of nearly $6 million compared to $2.45 million.

CEO John Sztykiel noted, “We made a great deal of progress during 2013 in improving the operating performance of our Delivery & Service (DSV) and Specialty Vehicles (SV) businesses. In the first quarter of 2013, we moved half of DSV’s business – walk-in vans – to Bristol, Ind., while maintaining production. The launch process presented more obstacles than we anticipated, resulting in an operating loss of $5.6 million for the first half of 2013.

“During the second half of the year, we returned DSV to profitability, posting operating income of $1.7 million and brought the Reach program closer to profitability in the fourth quarter.  The SV segment was a star performer in 2013 and its profitability presents a sharp contrast to that reported in the last two years. Unfortunately, the progress we made in these two segments was overshadowed by unsatisfactory performance in the Emergency Response segment, specifically in the Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) unit.”

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