Kathryn Thompson, a prominent analyst of the RV industry who was frequently quoted by RVBUSINESS.com when she was affiliated with Avondale Partners, has now formed her own firm, Thompson Research Group.
The equity research firm will continue to do much of the same type of research she performed at Avondale Partners, “perhaps with a greater emphasis on industry work,” she stated.
“We should be gearing up our RV dealer survey over the next two weeks,” she said.
Meanwhile, in her new capacity, Thompson issued a “hold” recommendation for shareholders of Drew following the recent release of Drew’s first-quarter results.
“Management seemed relatively upbeat on the quarter end conference call about the recent improvement in business relative to Q1’09,” she stated. “We would point out that after passing through the desert of Q1, any improvement will be meaningful. Management indicated that several customers have backlogs filled through the annual summer RV industry shutdown in July. April 2009 sales improved 19% vs. March 2009, a higher than typical seasonal increase.”
She conclued, “With shares of DW having run 161.3% since early March vs. an S&P 500 increase of 28.8% over the same time period, we think that valuation has gotten ahead of itself at this time. While we are encouraged to see some signs of a seasonal uplift in the business, we are by no means out of the woods yet. Financing remains tight at the wholesale level which is limiting dealer inventory replenishment. Until there is a meaningful return in consumer confidence (thereby improving retail inventory turns), we believe financial providers to the industry will limit providing additional flooring dollars to dealers. Additionally, if the consumer continues to remain tight, we anticipate dealers will continue to lower inventories heading into the fall, and will be unlikely to ramp up meaningfully orders of new product (i.e. we could see sequential decreases in orders). At this time, we are hard pressed to see additional upside in shares at this time.”