Thor Industries Inc. reports its net earnings increased 14% during the three months and six months ended Jan. 31, and it set a record of $17.5 million in earnings during the November-through-January period.
Thor’s net income of $17.5 million for the three months ended Jan. 31, which corresponds to the second quarter of its fiscal 2004, compares with $15.4 million earned in the same period a year earlier.
During the first half of fiscal 2004, Thor’s net earnings amounted to $41.2 million, compared with $36.2 million a year earlier.
However, Thor’s gross profit margin eroded to 12.5% during the November-through-January period, compared with 13.7% a year earlier. That occurred because of increases in the prices of various commodities that Thor uses, including steel, aluminum, plywood, lumber and copper, according to Wade F.B. Thompson, chairman.
Losses at the Thor California towable RV assembly operation also contributed to the narrower profit margin, Thompson added. “We have taken aggressive actions, including price increases and cost reductions to eliminate Thor California’s problems and to offset commodity cost increases,” he said.
Meanwhile, Thor’s RV sales increased 36% during the second quarter of fiscal 2004 to $374.2 million while its transit bus sales declined 3% to $52.3 million.
The New York Stock Exchange-listed company’s RV sales increased 29% in the six months ended Jan. 31 to $807.2 million and its bus sales improved by 2% during the same period to $109.7 million.
Thor’s pre-tax RV-related earnings increased 11% in the second quarter to $24.9 million and increased by 10% in the six months ended Jan. 31 to $62.4 million.
The company’s bus-related pre-tax income increased 3% in the quarter to $3.4 million and improved by 4% during the six months ended Jan. 31 to $6.2 million.
Because of increasing retail and wholesale demand for certain of its RV products, Thompson reported today (March 8) that Thor has hired 660 more employees since Jan. 1, and some of its plants are operating six days a week.
The hiring of 660 more people represents a 10% increase in the company’s work force.
“We confidently expect a strong second half of fiscal 2004,” Thompson said.