Winnebago Industries Inc. reports its net earnings increased 52% in its first fiscal quarter, which ended Nov. 30, and its sales revenue climbed 32% higher in the September-through-November period to a record $234.1 million.
Winnebago, a New York Stock Exchange-listed company, earned $16.3 million in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2003, compared with $10.7 million earned a year earlier.
“The positive results were due to the excellent acceptance of the company’s new 2003 motorhomes and continued low interest-rate environment and our strong dealer partners,” said Bruce Hertzke, chairman, president and CEO of the Forest city, Iowa company.
“Also, we were pleased with the results of the National RV Show in Louisville (Dec. 3-5), and with the very positive dealer response to our new products, particularly the introduction of new 39-foot floorplans and full-body paint to our midpriced diesel Winnebago Journey DL and Itasca Horizon, as well as the addition of a 33-foot model to our affordable Winnebago Sightseer and Itasca Sunova lines,” Hertzke said.
Winnebago’s employees who worked overtime the last nine months were able “to reduce our sales order backlog to a more normal level,” Hertzke said.
The backlog of dealer orders for Winnebago’s Class A and Class C motorhomes amounted to 1,950 units as of Nov. 30, which represents a 23.5% increase over the company’s order backlog as of Nov. 30, 2001. However, its order backlog as of Nov. 30 2002 was down from 3,248 units as of the end of its fiscal year 2002, on Aug. 31.
“The reduction in order backlog results from our ability to fill orders in a more timely manner and, more specifically, we are shipping our motorhomes to dealers within a six- to eight-week period following the input of an order, rather than nearly twice that level at the end of fiscal 2002,” Hertzke said.
Meanwhile, Winnebago’s dealers had 4,602 of the company’s units in inventory as of Nov. 30, which is up from 4,000 units as of Aug. 31. Hertzke said dealer inventories expanded because “many dealers, sensing strong demand for Winnebago Industries’ products, don’t want to be ‘caught short’ as they were last year.”
Also, Hertzke said, “It was apparent to us from visiting with dealers at the Louisville Show that the value of the Winnebago Industries’ product lines to our dealer partners has never been higher and there definitely is optimism about the forthcoming year.”
Winnebago shipped a total of 1,927 Class A’s and 998 Class C’s in the three months ended Nov. 30, compared with 1,507 Class A’s and 810 Class C’s delivered to dealers during the same portion of 2001.
It also shipped 142 units of the now discontinued Volkswagen EuroVan Camper in the September-through-Novmber period, compared with 197 units delivered in the same portion of last year.
Work on Winnebago’s new motorhome assembly plant in Charles City, Iowa, is proceeding on schedule and it will go into production in “the February/March timeframe,” Hertzke said. The Charles City plant will be in the “ramp-up” phase of production until late summer, he added.