Winnebago logoWinnebago Industries Inc. today (Dec. 17) reported improved financial results for the company’s first quarter of fiscal year 2010.

Revenues for the quarter ending Nov. 28 were $81 million, an increase of 16.7%, vs. $69.4 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2009. The company reported an operating loss of $6 million for the quarter, vs. an operating loss of $16.9 million a year ago. Net loss for the first quarter was $1.3 million vs.$9.6 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2009, according to a news release.

On a diluted per share basis, the company had a net loss of 5 cents for the quarter  vs. a net loss of 33 cents for the first quarter of fiscal 2009. The net loss for the first quarter reflected the positive impact of $4.9 million in tax benefits associated with additional fiscal year 2009 net operating loss carryback due to recent tax law changes; however, no tax benefits have been recorded on first quarter fiscal 2010 pre-tax losses which are not immediately subject to refund.

“We are extremely pleased to see an increase in revenues, as well as posting a small gross profit in our first quarter,” said Bob Olson, Winnebago chairman, CEO and president. “As difficult as this recession has been for Winnebago Industries and the entire RV industry, we believe the worst may be over.”

Winnebago Industries’ sales order backlog was 1,521 motorhomes at Nov. 28, an increase of 350% compared to the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2009. This also represents an increase of 62% from Aug. 29, the end of our fourth quarter.

“The increased demand for our products is particularly noteworthy since it is seasonally very unusual to have a significant increase at this time of year,” said Olson. “We have seen particular strength in the backlog for our Class A gas and diesel products. Due to the escalation of our sales order backlog, we have increased our production levels and during the first quarter of fiscal 2010, our employment grew by approximately 350 employees.”

“While the economic environment, the availability of credit and the level of retail demand remain tenuous, we believe that dealer inventory has finally bottomed out,” said Olson. “Inventory of Winnebago, Itasca and ERA products on our dealers’ lots declined 52% to 1,567 motorhomes as of Nov. 28 vs. 3,269 motorhomes as of the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2009. Retail sales have been much higher than wholesale shipments throughout the past 18 months, providing further opportunity for added growth in the future through inventory replenishment even without an increase in retail demand.”

According to Statistical Surveys Inc., the retail reporting service for the RV industry, Winnebago Industries’ gained market share in the combined Class A and C markets with 19.3% for the first 10 months of calendar 2009, compared to 18.3% for the same period last year.

“We had an excellent reception of our new 2010 products at the recent RVIA National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky,” continued Olson. “We were pleased with the increased level of orders placed during the show as compared to last year. Many dealers also indicated they are interested in carrying fewer manufacturers’ product lines on their lots, with the intention to partner with manufacturers who are financially stable and able to provide product, sales and service support for the long-term.”