> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Thor Industries Inc. announced today that (Oct. 31) it has reached an agreement to buy closely held and rapidly growing Keystone RV Co. for $145 million.

The price will be paid 55% in cash and 45% in Thor common stock and the deal is expected to close by Nov. 9.

Thor stock closed at $32.71 a share in New York Stock Exchange trading Tuesday (Oct. 30). Shortly before noon Eastern Standard Time today (Oct. 31), Thor stock was up $1.09 a share to $33.80.

The combined company will have $1.2 billion in annual sales, making Thor the largest manufacturer of travel trailers and fifth-wheels.

Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone was founded six years ago by former Coachmen Industries Inc. executives Cole Davis and brothers Bill and Ron Fenech. It grew to have $246 million in sales during 2000. This year, Keystone’s sales were on track to reach $380 million.

Davis will continue as president of Keystone, and Keystone’s entire management team will continue with the company.

“Keystone has a very strong management team which accounts for its extraordinary success,” said Thor Chairman Wade F.B. Thompson. “There are many opportunities for purchasing and other synergies between the companies.”

“We look forward to being a key part of Thor’s continuing growth,” said Davis, Keystone’s president and CEO.

The combination of Thor and Keystone will account for 25% of the combined travel trailer/fifth-wheel retail market, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. data.

During the first eight months of this year, Thor occupied the No. 3 retail market share position in the travel trailer/fifth-wheel market with a 12.8% share. Keystone was No. 4 with a 12.4% retail market share.

Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. was No. 1 in terms of combined travel trailer/fifth-wheel retail market share during the first eight months of this year with a 15.5% market share. Forest River Industries Inc. was No. 2 with a 13.1% share of the combined travel trailer/fifth-wheel market.

Keystone was No. 1 in the fifth-wheel market during the first eight months of this year with a 17.7% market share. Thor was No. 4 with a 10.3% share.

In travel trailers, Thor was No. 2 during the first eight months of this year with a 14.1% market share. Keystone was No. 4 with a 9.7% market share, according to Statistical Surveys.

Fleetwood was No. 1 in travel trailers during the first eight months of this year with a 17.2% retail market share.