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Motorhome Chassis Orders Drive Spartan Backlog

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February 18, 2010 by   Leave a Comment

Spartan Motors Inc. today (Feb. 18) announced results for its 2009 fourth quarter and full year, which included the completion of the company’s acquisition of Utilimaster on Nov. 30.

According to a news release, fourth-quarter highlights for the Charlotte, Mich.-based company include:

  • Net sales of $100.5 million.
  • Gross margin of 14.9% of sales.
  • Operating expenses of $15.0 million (15% of sales).
  • Total one-time acquisition-related charges of $1.2 million.
  • Consolidated backlog of $247.6 million at year end 2009.

“We are pleased in some respects with the accomplishments of our team during a very demanding quarter,” said John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Spartan Motors. “On the positive side, we completed the purchase of Utilimaster and began our integration efforts, while continuing to align our core business to the current level of demand. On a negative note, we lost money, which is something we do not do often. That said, we are starting to see meaningful improvements in some markets, such as fire trucks and motorhomes, as consolidated backlog, excluding the new Utilimaster acquisition, rose 25.7% from the prior year and 35.6% from the third quarter of 2009.”

Consolidated net sales for the quarter were $100.5 million, up 12% sequentially from Q3 of 2009 due to the incremental Utilimaster sales, which were partially offset by lower service parts and assemblies (SPA) sales. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2008, net sales fell 31.3% due mainly to the completion of a large-scale defense vehicle contract in 2008, as well as lower SPA sales in the current quarter.

By contrast, Spartan’s EVTeam operating segment, which consists of its Crimson Fire, Crimson Fire Aerials and Road Rescue subsidiaries, reported a 13.3% year-over-year increase in sales for the 2009 fourth quarter. Sales of fire truck chassis in the quarter also increased 15% compared to the same period in 2008. Likewise, Spartan’s chassis sales to the Class A diesel motorhome market more than doubled in the quarter, driven by new products and recent improvements in the recreational vehicle ┬ámarket.

Net loss for the quarter was $400,000, which included one-time pre-tax charges of $1.2 million related to Spartan’s acquisition of Utilimaster.

For the full year, Spartan reported net sales of $429.9 million, compared with net sales of $844.4 million in 2008. The decline in sales for the year was primarily the result of the completion of a large defense order in 2008 combined with softness in the current motorhome market. Gross profit fell with the lower revenue level, but as a percent of sales, gross margin increased to 19% in 2009, up from 17.5% in 2008, due mainly to a shift in mix toward higher margin products.

Income from operations for the year was $18.6 million, compared with $68.7 million in 2008. On the bottom line, Spartan reported net income of $11.8 million for 2009, versus net income of $42.7 million in the prior year.

Backlog at Dec. 31, stood at $247.6 million, up 45.7% from $169.9 million at Dec. 31, 2008. Excluding the $34.1 million backlog from Utilimaster, Spartan’s total backlog increased by 25.7% over the prior year. Also excluding backlogs for SPA, which were not included in consolidated backlog in 2008, total backlogs would have increased 18.9% from the prior year. The improvement in backlog was driven by significantly improved order flow in motorhome and fire truck chassis ahead of updated emissions standards scheduled to take effect in 2010.

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