Trimas Corp. reported a narrower net loss for the company’s fourth quarter despite a 30.5% decline in sales for its RV and Trailer Products Group.
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Trimas posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $161.8 million compared to a net loss of $168.9 million a year ago while sales dipped to $213.1 million from $221.1 million
For the year, TriMas reported a net loss of $136.2 million compared with a net loss of $158.4 million the year prior and sales were up slightly to $1.02 billion from $1 billion.
Two of the company’s five business segments were profitable and saw sales growth in 2008 — energy products and the industrial specialties group — but neither of these gains was enough to offset sales declines and operating losses in RV and trailer products, recreational accessories and packaging systems.
Trimas said that sales for the fourth quarter and full year decreased 30.5% and 12.2%, respectively, for the RV and trailer products sector as growth in the Australian business was more than offset by the continued weak demand in most end markets in the United States. Operating profit decreased due to reduced sales volumes, lower absorption of fixed costs as the company reduced its production to manage inventory levels and a less favorable product sales mix.
The company services the RV industry through its Cequent Group, comprised of several towing product brands that include Draw-Tite, Reese, Fulton, Wesbar, Bull Dog, Hidden Hitch and Tekonsha.
“(TriMas) increased sales, improved operating performance, reduced debt and lowered its fixed cost structure,” newly-appointed company president and CEO David Wathen said in a statement on the earnings. “Despite these results, TriMas experienced significant declines in customer demand across our business segments in the fourth quarter as a result of the global recession. The first quarter of 2009 continues to be difficult for our customers and we anticipate that this trend will continue.”
The company also announced it was accelerating its previously disclosed “profit improvement plan” and expects to achieve cost savings of $28 million during 2009.