Both Utilimaster Corp. and the town it’s leaving got a boost this week with the sale of the company’s former buildings in Wakarusa.
As reported by the South Bend Tribune, Spartan Motors Inc., Utilimaster’s parent company, sold 13 of its Wakarusa buildings to Forest River, according to FM Stone Commercial, which negotiated the sale. The buildings sit on 91 acres along Indiana 19 in Wakarusa, and Utilimaster already is using two of the buildings.
Utilimaster will temporarily use three buildings in Wakarusa for its truck body operation, according to Spartan Motors.
Officials from Forest River, a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. company, did not return a call to The Tribune.
On Wednesday, Jeff Troxel, town manager for Wakarusa, said the announcement was good news for the community. He said he believes Forest River already has moved its Prime Time RV business into the Wakarusa campus.
Troxel is hopeful Forest River will make full use of the former Utilimaster campus.
And if that happens, more workers will be coming into Wakarusa to help replace the 600 to 800 people who normally came to the Utilimaster facilities.
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Elkhart, Ind.-based real estate firm FM Stone Commercial, which represented Forest River Inc. in its acquisition of Spartan Motors Inc.’s Utilimaster Corp. facility in Wakarusa, Ind., reports that 13 of the 14 industrial buildings on State Road 19 were sold in the transaction.
According to a press release, the buildings purchased by Forest River encompass 510,350 square feet in the complex currently being vacated by Utilimaster. Spartan is relocating its Utilimaster operations to Bristol, located 20 miles northeast of Wakarusa.
The buildings were on the market for just over nine months. Buildings range in size from 10,590 square feet to 90,270 square feet and were part of one of Wakarusa’s largest manufacturing facilities.
The remaining building on the Wakarusa campus is still available for sale through FM Stone Commercial. The three-story, 30,150-square-foot office building on 4.18 acres features an elevator, a climate-controlled computer room, covered loading dock, six rest rooms, heavy power, and geo-thermal heating and air conditioning.
The move to Bristol will consolidate Utilimaster’s operations into one 425,000-square-foot facility from its current campus of multiple buildings. Spartan Motors, parent to Spartan Chassis Inc., said the new facility will streamline operations and is expected to save up to $4 million annually.
Spartan Motors Inc. announced the sale of the majority of its Utilimaster Corp. manufacturing facility in Wakarusa, Ind., to Forest River Inc.
According to a news release, the transaction was pursuant to Spartan’s announcement on Feb. 14, 2012, that it will relocate the company’s Utilimaster operations to Bristol, Ind., from Wakarusa.
“The sale of the Wakarusa facility represents an important step in the transition of Utilimaster’s operations to Bristol,” said John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Charlotte, Mich.-based Spartan Motors, parent to Spartan Chassis Inc. “As we finalize the move and ramp up production, we expect the new, modern plant to support Utilimaster’s long-term growth and enable us to achieve our potential in delivery and service vehicles.”
The move to Bristol, located 20 miles east of Wakarusa, will consolidate Utilimaster’s operations into one facility from its current campus of 16 buildings. Spartan said that moving into a single plant, combined with lean manufacturing practices, will help enable Utilimaster improve product quality and manufacturing efficiency by reducing operating costs and eliminating non-value-added steps.
Forest River, based in Elkhart, is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and is one of the largest manufacturers of RVs. With multiple manufacturing facilities throughout the Midwest and West Coast, Forest River also produces park model trailers, destination trailers, cargo trailers, commercial vehicles, buses, pontoons, restroom trailers and mobile offices.
Spartan Chassis Inc., a subsidiary of Spartan Motors Inc., today (Nov. 27) presented a new Class A Front Engine Gasoline (FEG) concept chassis to capitalize on the growth of smaller Class A recreational vehicles (22K to 28K GVWR) and the increasing demand for gasoline powered engines in the motorized segment.
Code named the Extol, this chassis presented at the RVIA National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., offers signigficant powertrain and chassis performance improvements which will enable RV OEMs and their dealers to capture additional sales, according to a news release.
Powered by an 8.8 Liter engine that offers 430 HP and 512 lb.-ft. of torque (@3400 RPM) the engine offers a sizable performance improvement over current offerings in the market today. Branded Spartan and developed in cooperation with Power Solutions International, Inc. (PSI) (OTCBB:PSIX.OB) a leader in the design, engineering and manufacture of engines for industrial and off/on-road markets, the engine is right-sized to the Class A growth opportunity and offers the performance end-users seek for an improved driving and ownership experience.
“This new chassis development illustrates both our long-term commitment to the RV business and, more importantly, our interest to continually find new business growth opportunities for our OEM partners in the RV industry.”
The Extol value proposition includes multiple dimensions including:
- Chassis performance: a superior ride quality achieved through use of Spartan’s proprietary suspension and the new Compression Fluid Strut.
- Superior handling: achieved by tuning the chassis to the size, weight distribution, and profile of the RV OEM’s body.
- Engine performance: the 8.8-liter gasoline engine provides a durable, high-performance big block engine which delivers a 20% improvement in power and 15% better fuel-efficiency than previous models.
- Engine durability: the heavy-duty, durable design includes a significantly stronger crankcase and a forged and induction hardened crankshaft, creating a block that can deliver 1,000 ft-lb of torque.
About Spartan Chassis Inc.
Spartan Chassis Inc. is a world-class leader in the engineering, manufacturing and marketing of chassis and aftermarket parts for emergency-response, recreational vehicle (RV), defense and specialty vehicles. End users recognize and request the Spartan Chassis brand, which consistently delivers superior performance, exceptional safety ratings and innovations which distinguish us from the competition. Visit Spartan Chassis at www.spartanchassis.com.
Spartan Motors Inc. reported a net loss for its third quarter on a 6% decline in sales while RV revenues improved 20.9%.
The Charlotte, Mich.-based company, parent to Spartan Chassis Inc., posted third-quarter revenues of $112.9 million compared to $120.3 million a year ago. Spartan reported a net loss of $0.3 million for the third quarter, or 1 cent per diluted share, compared to net income of $3.2 million, or 10 cents per diluted share in the third quarter of 2011.
Excluding pre-tax restructuring charges of $1.6 million, Spartan posted adjusted operating earnings for the quarter of 2 cents per diluted share.
CEO John Sztykiel noted, “Spartan continued its trend of generating an adjusted operating profit through the third quarter of 2012 as our Emergency Response and Specialty Vehicles units posted growth in revenue and order backlog compared to the third quarter of 2011.
“The improved performance of these units underscores the importance of our diversification strategy as the growth in these segments partially offset a slower quarter in our Delivery & Service Vehicles unit. We are executing our plan and continuing our momentum in returning our ER and Specialty Vehicles units to growth and taking action to improve our operations.”
A breakdown by division showed:
• The Specialty Vehicles segment generated revenue of $23.9 million in the third quarter of 2012, up 0.8% from $23.8 million in the year-ago third quarter. Most of the increase came from higher sales of recreational vehicle chassis, which totaled $17.1 million for the third quarter of 2012, an increase of $3 million, or 20.9%, over the third quarter of 2011. RV chassis sales increased as RV manufacturers using Spartan’s custom chassis increased their sales and market share during the third quarter of 2012.
• Spartan’s Emergency Response Vehicles segment, which includes both the Emergency Response Chassis and Emergency Response Bodies operations, posted a sales gain of $4.6 million, or 12.9%, in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the prior year. Sales of Spartan’s custom chassis accounted for most of the increase, as the market gradually recovered and responded favorably to Spartan’s new product offerings. During the quarter, Spartan shipped the first few ER chassis equipped with the Spartan APS advanced airbag restraint system.
• The Delivery & Service Vehicles segment posted third quarter 2012 revenue of $49.0 million, down from $61.2 million in the third quarter of 2011. The revenue decline was largely due to the decline in aftermarket accessory sales during the most recent third quarter. Vehicle sales in Q3 2012 were adversely affected to a lesser extent by a decline in walk-in van sales compared to Q3 2011 when DSV shipped a record number of units to a major customer. Shortages of some materials also pushed out production of some walk-in van units beyond Q3 2012.
To view the entire report click here.
Spartan Motors Inc. today (Aug. 2) announced operating results for the second quarter of 2012. Revenues totaled $114.4 million, up 15% from the second quarter of 2011. Spartan reported net income for the second quarter of $2.4 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $2.2 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2011. Excluding restructuring charges of $0.7 million, Spartan posted adjusted operating earnings of $0.08 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2012, versus an adjusted net loss of $0.01 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2011.
CEO John Sztykiel noted, “Our strategy of blended growth combined with improved operating performance is the right plan for Spartan. Our quarterly results showed the progress we have made on both fronts. We expect to make further progress in operational improvements as we relocate Utilimaster’s operations to Bristol (Ind.) and the Reach to Charlotte (Mich.), among other operational initiatives.”
A breakdown by segment showed:
• The Delivery & Service Vehicles (“DSV”) unit posted second quarter 2012 revenue of $47.8 million, up 23.2% from $38.8 million in the second quarter of 2011. Sales of walk-in vans, truck bodies and aftermarket products including keyless entry, all rose from the prior-year second quarter. Vehicles sales rose to $25.0 million from $22.9 million the previous year while aftermarket parts and field service solutions revenue totaled $22.7 million compared to $15.8 million.
• Spartan’s Emergency Response (“ERC”) and Recreational & Specialty (“RSC”) chassis businesses posted higher sales during the second quarter of 2012 compared to the prior-year period. Sales at the ERC unit totaled $28 million in the most recent quarter, up from $22.2 million in the second quarter of 2011. Revenue for RSC increased to $16.2 million in the second quarter of 2012 versus $15.2 million in the prior-year second quarter.
• Sales at Spartan’s Emergency Response Vehicles (“ERV”) group rose to $15.6 million in the second quarter of 2012, from $13.9 million in the second quarter of 2011. ERV sales grew from the prior year despite a short-term lack of commercial chassis availability during the quarter. One of the two suppliers affected returned to more normal chassis production toward the end of the second quarter of 2012, thereby alleviating most of the chassis shortage. The shortage of commercial chassis negatively impacted second quarter 2012 revenue by approximately $1.2 million.
Spartan’s gross margin excluding restructuring items was 16.9% in the second quarter of 2012 versus 14.5% in the second quarter of 2011. Positively impacting gross profit and gross margin were higher chassis production volumes, favorable mix at Utilimaster due to higher aftermarket parts sales, plus improved operating efficiency throughout the Company. Including restructuring items of $0.6 million in the second quarter of 2012 and $1.7 million in the second quarter of 2011, gross margin was 16.4% and 12.7% for the second quarter of 2012 and 2011, respectively. Restructuring charges in the second quarter of 2012 were mainly related to the relocation of DSV’s Utilimaster operations to Bristol, Ind.
Operating expenses in the second quarter of 2012 totaled $14.8 million, or 12.9% of sales, excluding restructuring charges, compared to $15.3 million, or 15.4% of sales, in the second quarter of 2011. Restructuring charges in the second quarter of 2012 were $0.1 million, or 0.1% of sales, versus $1.1 million, or 1.1% of sales in the second quarter of 2011. Restructuring charges for the most recent quarter were due primarily to the transfer of Reach walk-in van production to Spartan’s Charlotte, Mich. facility. Including restructuring charges, operating expense in the second quarter of 2012 was $14.9 million or 13.0% of sales, compared to $16.3 million or 16.4% of sales in the prior-year second quarter.
Regarding the company’s outlook, CFO Joe Nowicki stated, “Our expectations for the year remain largely unchanged. We expect 2012 revenue to increase from 2011 in the mid- to upper-single digits, a slight increase from our last update. We are adjusting our projected gross margin for the year down slightly, to the 14.5 – 15% range, with operating expenses of 12 – 12.5%. For the year, we expect revenue growth in our Emergency Response businesses as well as at Utilimaster, but remind investors that Utilimaster’s margins will be negatively impacted by the completion of our keyless entry program in July and less efficient vehicle production until the relocation to Bristol is complete. We continue to move forward with our initiatives and expect to generate continued profitability in future quarters.”
To read the entire report click here.
Production of the new environmentally-friendly Reach delivery van has started to migrate from the Utilimaster Corp. plant in Wakarusa, Ind., to the Spartan Motors Inc. campus in Charlotte, Mich., according to a report by the Elkhart Truth.
Although the manufacturing schedule was delayed by three months, the vans are being built. Spartan, parent company of Utilimaster, is expecting to ship a total of 500 to 1,000 Reach vehicles in 2012 and anticipates production will nearly double in 2013.
As part of the original Reach launch plan, the assembly line will shift north from Indiana to the Spartan headquarters which will put the body assembly closer to the Isuzu diesel chassis operation.
Despite losing the new van, Utilimaster has a backlog of orders and is growing its payroll. To date, about 80 new production workers have been hired and the company is looking to add another 150 by the end of August. The manufacturer has a current workforce of 839.
To read the entire story in the Elkhart Truth click here.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) has played a role in the expansion of the RV industry in Elkhart County.
As reported by The Elkhart Truth, in Elkhart County since 2011, the economic development organization has been a part of nine expansions, including Lippert Components and Kinro Manufacturing Inc., Supreme Industries Inc. and Spartan Motors Inc. totaling $31.7 million in new investment and 1,608 new jobs by 2015.
The companies that have grown in Elkhart County 2011 received $9.4 million in performance-based tax credits and $732,500 in training grants from the IEDC.
Daniel J. Hasler, CEO of the state economic development agency, is optimistic that 250 companies will choose Indiana in 2012 to either expand or relocate their operations. He pointed to the high rankings from CEO magazine and the Tax Foundation along with the infrastructure investments funded by Major Moves and the recently passed Right to Work legislation as indicators of Indiana’s ability to appeal to businesses.
Click here to read the entire story.
Charlotte, Mich.-based Spartan Motors Inc. today (May 1) reported a 25% increase in revenue for its first quarter while the company incurred a net loss, primarily due to restructuring costs from its Utilimaster Corp. subsidiary.
Revenue during the period totaled $118.8 million, an increase of 25% from $95.1 million in the first quarter of 2011. Revenue growth was led by the delivery and service vehicles segment, which posted sales of $58.8 million, up 149.2% from $23.6 million the previous year. Motorhome chassis sales generated by the Spartan Chassis Inc. subsidiary were $18.5 million.
Spartan reported a net loss for the first quarter of $2.0 million, or 6 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $898,000, or 3 cents per diluted share, the year prior. Excluding restructuring charges of $5.4 million, Spartan posted adjusted operating earnings of 4 cents per diluted share.
Most of the restructuring cost resulted from the impaired asset value of Utilimaster’s Wakarusa, Ind., production complex. Management expects annual cost reductions of $4 million or more after Utilimaster’s relocation to Bristol, Ind., is complete.
John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Spartan Motors, noted, “Our blended growth strategy consists of organic growth, alliances and acquisitions, and Spartan’s improved results for the first quarter illustrate our strategy is sound. Beginning in late 2009, the acquisition of Utilimaster diversified our revenue stream. We then generated organic growth by developing new products for Utilimaster. Now, with the steps we recently announced with new partners Gimaex and Renault, we intend to strengthen the Spartan brand further and drive additional revenue growth through alliances.”
Adjusted gross profit for the first quarter of 2012 was $17.4 million, excluding a previously disclosed restructuring charge of $3.6 million. Excluding the restructuring charge, Spartan posted an adjusted gross margin of 14.6% of sales compared to 13.6% in the first quarter of 2011. On a GAAP basis, Spartan reported gross profit of $13.7 million, compared to gross profit of $13.0 million a year ago.
“Spartan continued to follow its operating plan during the first quarter, which translated into improved operating performance,” said Joe Nowicki, CFO of Spartan Motors. “Our Utilimaster business was particularly strong during the quarter, both in vehicle sales and aftermarket parts. We also believe we outperformed major competitors in the emergency response market and continued to gain share during the first quarter of 2012. While our results for the quarter showed progress compared to last year, we recognize that we still have much room for improvement. As we increase our focus on improving our operational efficiency, we expect to drive margins higher.”
To view the entire report click here.
Spartan Motors Inc. today (Feb. 24) announced that Andrew M. Rooke has been named to the company’s board.
Rooke currently serves as president and COO of Manitex International Inc., a leading North American manufacturer of engineered lifting equipment. He has held this position since 2007. His professional experience includes GKN Sinter Metals, where he served as CFO, and with other organizations that include Quaker Oats Ltd. and Rolls Royce Ltd.
John Sztykiel, CEO of Spartan Motors, stated, “The board has been integral in transforming Spartan Motors, ensuring accountability and providing leadership as management executes its strategy. Having Andrew join the board makes it stronger, which in turn strengthens the company and ensures that Spartan evolves in the right direction.”
Rooke holds a bachelor’s in economics from the University of York, England, and is a Chartered Accountant. He is a native of Birmingham, England and currently resides in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.