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Winnebago Industries Inc. announced Thursday (March 20) that it would buy back up to $20 million worth of its stock.
As is the case with almost all RV industry-related companies with publicly traded stock, Winnebago’s shares have been trading near 52-week lows in recent weeks because of worries about the economic impact of the war in Iraq and high gasoline prices.
However, after the stock repurchase program was announced, Winnebago’s shares closed $1.18 higher in New York Stock Exchange trading Thursday. The company’s stock closed at $26.36 on Thursday.
The stock repurchase program announced on Thursday is the eighth by Winnebago since December 1997. So far, Winnebago has repurchased a little more than 8.4 million of its shares at a total purchase price of $164.3 million.
“Following seven successful repurchase programs, we continue to believe these programs will enhance the company’s value for our shareholders,” said Bruce Hertzke, chairman, president and CEO.
Some of the previous repurchase programs involved shares owned by the family of the late John K. Hanson, Winnebago’s founder. The stock to be repurchased in the latest program could come from the Hanson family interests or from other shareholders, said Sheila Davis, Winnebago’s spokeswoman.
Hanson Capital Partners LLC owned 28% of Winnebago’s 18.8 million outstanding shares, making it the firm’s largest shareholder as of November, the most current data available.
Winnebago is the second RV manufacturer to announce a stock buyback program this month. Ten days ago, Thor Industries Inc., another New York Stock Exchange-listed firm, announced it planned to buy up to 1 million of its shares.