Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc. today (June 14) reported higher revenue and earnings for its fiscal third quarter, ended May 26, boosted by increased towable sales and improved margins.

Revenues for the third quarter were $155.7 million, an increase of 14.9%, versus $135.6 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2011. Included within consolidated revenues was $16.4 million associated with towable products compared to $7.2 million the previous year. The company reported an operating profit of $3.5 million for the quarter versus $538,000 a year ago. Net income for the third quarter was $3.9 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, compared to $1.2 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, the previous year.

The builder said that sales primarily grew because of an increase in wholesale deliveries of towable products and the increase in the average selling price for all RV products due to the mix of higher priced products delivered. Gross margin was positively impacted by better fixed cost absorption from higher production levels as compared to the prior period.

Revenues for the first nine months were $419.1 million, an increase of 14.6%, compared to $365.9 million for the first nine months of fiscal 2011. The company reported an operating profit of $3.0 million during the period, compared to $9.5 million a year ago. Net income for the first nine months was $4.1 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, versus $8.3 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, the year prior.

Winnebago said revenues for the nine months also benefited by an increase in towable shipments and improved margins. Operating profit was lower as compared to the prior period most notably due to increased pricing and inflationary pressures in fiscal 2012 and the fact that fiscal 2011 results included a $3.5 million pre-tax benefit from the results of an annual physical inventory of work-in-process, due to lower actual inventory scrap and production loss.

“Our business was sequentially much stronger during the third fiscal quarter and as a result, our margins have improved,” said Winnebago Industries Chairman, CEO and President Randy Potts. “Notably, towables achieved their first full quarter of operating profitability in the third quarter.

“Our sales order backlog for motorized products was strong going into our Dealer Days event held in May in Las Vegas. This event resulted in even more orders, particularly for our towable products, due to the positive reception to our new product offerings. Our RV inventory on dealers’ lots is fresh but at a conservative level, which combined with our higher order position leads us to be optimistic about the remainder of the fiscal year.”

Winnebago will conduct a conference call in conjunction with this release at 9 a.m. (Central) today. Members of the news media, investors and the general public are invited to access a live broadcast of the conference call via the Investor Relations page of the company’s website at http://www.winnebagoind.com/investor.html. The event will be archived and available for replay for the next 90 days.

A full version of third-quarter and nine-month financials is also available at the Winnebago site for download.