Forest River Buying Supreme Shuttle-Bus Unit

March 3, 2014 by · Comments Off on Forest River Buying Supreme Shuttle-Bus Unit 

Supreme Industries Inc. will sell its shuttle-bus assets to Forest River Inc.

The Goshen (Ind.) News reported that in December Supreme management announced it would sell the shuttle-bus business. Forest River, headquartered in Elkhart, will buy the division for about $7 million, depending on bus sales before the deal is finalized.

Supreme is making the move to focus on its core work truck and specialty vehicle markets. The company customizes vehicles.

Supreme announced in a statement Friday (Feb. 28) a modest gain on the sale is anticipated and the proceeds will be used to fund a series of growth initiatives, capital expenditures and margin expansion projects. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days.

“We are pleased to have reached a mutually beneficial agreement for the sale of our shuttle-bus assets to Forest River,” said Mark D. Weber, Supreme’s president and chief executive officer.

“The bus market has become increasingly competitive and this business has been unable to achieve our profitable growth objectives,” he added. “This divestiture allows us to concentrate our resources on growing our work truck, specialty vehicle and trolley businesses.”

Forest River is a Berkshire Hathaway company and manufactures transit buses, shuttle buses and tour coaches as well as recreational vehicles.

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Supreme Appoints Weber as President & CEO

April 19, 2013 by · Comments Off on Supreme Appoints Weber as President & CEO 

Goshen, Ind.-based Supreme Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of vehicles including truck bodies, buses, armored vehicles and specialty vehicles, announced that the company’s board selected Mark D. Weber as president and CEO, effective May 6.

According to a press release, Weber, 55, has served since 1996 as an executive at Federal Signal Corp., a global manufacturer of environmental and safety solutions for municipal, governmental, and industrial customers. In 2003, Weber was named group president responsible for five divisions with revenues in excess of $500 million supporting global customers in the firefighting, municipal cleaning, industrial access, and industrial cleaning market segments. During his tenure at Federal Signal, he was instrumental in deploying lean enterprise and ISO quality systems, restructuring and divesture of non-core assets, and aggressive revenue expansion in high-growth segments.

Prior to Federal Signal, Mr. Weber spent 17 years at Cummins Engine Co. including serving as director of advanced midrange engine manufacturing. He holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Rose Hulman Institute of Technology and a MBA from Indiana University.

“Mark brings a market-based strategic perspective, high level of customer focus, and a strong commitment to talent development. He has a proven track record in developing market-leading brands, which is built on a foundation of more than 30 years’ experience in manufacturing,” commented Herbert Gardner, Supreme’s chairman. “We believe that Mark will be a great complement to our executive leadership team and should ensure a continuation of the excellent progress the company is making.”

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Hoosier Agency Aids RV Industry Expansion

May 30, 2012 by · Comments Off on Hoosier Agency Aids RV Industry Expansion 

Daniel J. Hasler

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.


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Supreme Industries President Korth Steps Down

April 6, 2012 by · Comments Off on Supreme Industries President Korth Steps Down 

Goshen, Ind.-based Supreme Industries Inc., a manufacturer of specialized commercial vehicles including truck bodies, shuttle buses, and armored vehicles, today (March 6) announced that Kim Korth has resigned as director, president and CEO.

According to a press release, Korth resigned in order to focus her efforts on IRN Inc., a consulting firm in the vehicle and transportation industry where she serves as owner and president. The move comes after Supreme Corp., a division of Supreme Industries, announced a major expansion in Goshen that could add 350 jobs in the next three years.

Korth served as interim president and CEO of Supreme Industries from February 2011 through September 2011, whereupon she was made president and CEO.

Herbert M. Gardner, chairman, noted: “The board sincerely appreciates Ms. Korth’s leadership through a challenging transition period, and recognizes her many significant accomplishments. The board wishes her well.”

Matthew W. Long, Supreme’s CFO, treasurer and assistant secretary, will serve as the acting CEO.

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Supreme Industries Reports Bump in 3Q Sales

November 14, 2011 by · Comments Off on Supreme Industries Reports Bump in 3Q Sales 

Goshen, Ind.-based Supreme Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of specialized commercial vehicles, including truck bodies, shuttle buses and armored vehicles, reported a 19% increase in sales for its third quarter ended Oct. 1.

Consolidated net sales rose to $72.8 million in the third quarter, up from $61.5 million in last year’s comparable period. The company reported net income from continuing operations of $1.5 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, for the quarter, compared with $0.3 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, in the prior year. Including the impact from discontinued operations, net income improved to $0.10 per diluted share, reversing the year-ago net loss of $0.01 per share.

Supreme President and CEO Kim Korth said: “We are pleased to report a positive quarter for Supreme. We have been working aggressively on multiple fronts to improve our performance, and it is gratifying to see these efforts begin to show up on the bottom line. The strategy of deploying robust and integrated metrics for managing all aspects of the business has resulted in much tighter organizational alignment which, in turn, enables us to further lever Supreme’s national presence and scale. In addition to new practices and procedures, we are making strategic investments in our facilities designed to yield added enhancements to future productivity and flexibility.”

Gross profit rose 55% to $9.3 million from last year’s $6.0 million. Gross margin, as a percentage of sales, expanded 303 basis points to 12.79%, compared with 9.76% in the third quarter of 2010, primarily due to improved product mix, better management of labor and overhead, and increased sales. The company said order levels remained strong during the quarter. The sales order backlog at quarter end was $90 million, compared with $89 million a year ago.

To view the complete report click here.



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Supreme Industries Inc. Names Interim CEO

February 8, 2011 by · Comments Off on Supreme Industries Inc. Names Interim CEO 

Supreme Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of specialized commercial vehicles, including truck bodies, shuttle buses, armored vehicles and homeland response vehicles, has announced several senior management changes.

Kim Korth

Kim Korth

  • Robert W. Wilson, 66, president and chief operator officer of the company and president and CEO of the cmpany’s wholly owned operating subsidiary, Supreme Indiana Operations Inc., has announced his retirement. He will work with the company to support a successful transition in leadership as an advisor to the board on special Ppojects. He will continue in his position on the board of directors.
  • Herbert M. Gardner, 71, the chairman of the board and CEO of the company and the chairman of the board of Supreme Indiana, will continue as chairman, but has relinquished the role of CEO. He will be actively involved in supporting the transition of management.
  • Kim Korth, 56, president and owner of IRN Inc., a leading consulting firm in the vehicle and transportation industry, has been appointed president and CEO of the company and Supreme Indiana in an interim capacity.  Korth and her firm have been working with the company for the last year and she is well positioned to provide leadership during this transition period.  Korth was added to the company’s board of directors this past week.
  • Last month, the company announced a new executive leadership team comprised of Tom Beard, vice president of operations; Bob Besse, vice president of sales and marketing; Mike Oium, vice president of systems management; and Jeff Mowery, vice president of finance. This team will be responsible for day-to-day decision making at the company and will report directly to  Korth.
  • A Special Committee has been formed of the current board members, including Herbert M. Gardner, William J. Barrett, Mark C. Neilson, and Kim Korth, to assist the leadership team during the transition and to begin a process to identify and hire the new president and CEO of the company and Supreme Indiana. The company anticipates that process will be completed in the third quarter of 2011.

“The entire board is extremely grateful for Bob Wilson’s many years of service and the leadership he has provided to Supreme during his six years as President,” said Gardner. “We are also very pleased that Kim Korth has formally joined our executive team as she has the background and skills to help ensure continued improvements in Supreme’s performance.”

Korth has been actively involved in the transportation industry for more than 25 years and has worked with a wide variety of industry participants. She serves on a number of company boards, including Stoneridge Inc., a NYSE company active in the automotive and heavy truck industry. She is also a former director of Spartan Motors Inc. “Kim is well positioned to provide positive leadership for Supreme while the Special Committee of the Board performs its functions,” Gardner said.

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Supreme Notes Motorhome Business Exit in Q4

February 18, 2010 by · Comments Off on Supreme Notes Motorhome Business Exit in Q4 

Supreme Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of specialized commercial vehicles, including truck bodies, shuttle buses, armored vehicles and homeland response vehicles, announced Wednesday (Feb. 17) financial results for its fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 26.

The Goshen, Ind.-based manufacturer said continued significant softness in demand for dry-freight trucks led to an 18% decline in fourth-quarter 2009 consolidated net sales to $46.0 million, from $56.0 million in the same period a year ago. For the full year, consolidated net sales declined 26% to $192.0 million, versus $257.9 million in 2008, according to a news release.

The reported net loss from continuing operations for the quarter was $3.0 million, versus a loss of $2.0 million in last year’s comparable quarter. For the full year, Supreme reported a net loss from continuing operations of $6.4 million, compared with the 2008 loss of $2.1 million, .

During the fourth quarter of 2009, the company exited its Silver Crown luxury motorhome business and has reclassified prior-period results accordingly as discontinued operations. The net loss from discontinued operations recorded during the fourth-quarter and full-year 2009 totaled $1.5 million and $2.2 million, respectively. The unprecedented tight credit markets caused by the severe economic recession led to a significant reduction of new motorhome orders and the cancellation of existing orders.

The company’s sales backlog increased during the final quarter of 2009, reaching its highest level in more than a year — up 13% to $68 million at Dec. 26, versus $60 million at the end of December 2008. The improved backlog was derived from increased demand for buses and armored vehicles, while the truck backlog decreased from the prior year and was quite low when compared with backlogs in more normal economic conditions. Although not reflected in Supreme’s year-end backlog, increased quoting activity in most of the company’s sales territories, as well as other signs of stabilization in the commercial truck market, have been noted.

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Supreme Industries Reports Q3 Sales Down 18%

November 11, 2009 by · Comments Off on Supreme Industries Reports Q3 Sales Down 18% 

Supreme Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of specialized commercial vehicles, including truck bodies, shuttle buses, armored vehicles and homeland response vehicles, Tuesday (Nov. 10) announced financial results for its third quarter and nine months ended Sept. 26.

Goshen, Ind.-based Supreme continued to experience the impact of the economic recession, the company said in a news release. Third-quarter net sales were off 18% to $50.1 million from $61.1 million in the same period a year ago. For the first nine months, net sales declined 30% to $149 million, versus $212.3 million in 2008’s first nine months. Total sales backlog stood at $61.9 million, versus $64.9 million as of September 2008.

The company’s reported net loss was $1.5 million, vs. a net loss of $600,000 in last year’s comparable quarter. For the first nine months Supreme reported a net loss of $4 million, compared with the 2008 net loss of $200,000

Commenting on the results, Robert W. Wilson, Supreme president and COO, said, “During 2009, we incurred losses primarily due to the decline in the commercial truck market over the past 12 months, which is down approximately 40% according to the latest Polk report, an industry commentary on the U.S. commercial vehicle market. With core dry freight trucks and related products having historically represented approximately 65% of our revenues on average over prior periods, our revenues have been dramatically affected by these conditions. To date, we have reduced our annualized operating costs in excess of $15 million to help mitigate the effects of the decline in our core truck revenue. We are continually executing a strategy to improve our operational processes, reduce costs and research new materials to increase value to our customers, with an emphasis on ‘green’ materials and technologies, while also upgrading existing and developing new product offerings.”

Wilson concluded: “We believe the truck market is building pent-up demand as the average age of vehicles in use is estimated to be more than nine years, compared with the historic average of six years. However, when we will benefit from this market condition is unclear. On the other hand, our armored and bus divisions are anticipated to perform favorably for the balance of 2009 and into 2010. Our focus is to lower our cost structure (particularly in the truck division), restore profitability as soon as possible, maximize cash flows and reduce debt.”

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Stimulus Comes None Too Soon for Strapped Hoosiers

August 5, 2009 by · Comments Off on Stimulus Comes None Too Soon for Strapped Hoosiers 

President  Obama returns to Elkhart County, Ind., today (Aug. 5) at a moment when the county — so hammered by recession that Obama made it a symbol of the need for his stimulus plan — is finally getting some good news, according to

Obama will announce Energy Department grants for electric-car development during a speech at a Monaco RV factory in Wakarusa, about 10 miles south of Elkhart.

That will follow Tuesday’s announcement by Sweden’s Dometic International AB that it plans to hire 241 people to make refrigerators for recreational vehicles in Elkhart, a city of 53,000 about 100 miles east of Chicago.

“There are signs that it is getting better,” said Wakarusa Town Manager Tom Roeder, 61.

Preparing for the president’s second appearance in six months, Elkhart County, with almost 200,000 residents, has become a symbol of Obama’s assurances that the economy, still facing tough challenges, is beginning to improve.

At the same time, indications that the economy in northern Indiana is coming out of its free fall are tentative, and balanced by signs that many people are still struggling.

Unemployment in the Elkhart-Goshen metropolitan area rocketed to 18.9% in March from 4.8% at the end of 2007. The jobless rate has eased for three straight months to 16.8% in June. Manufacturing employment, which hit an 18- year low of 44,900 jobs in March, inched up to 45,300 in June.

“Retail merchants tell me spending is up, there’s some slight improvement in housing starts and a few more vehicles are selling,” said Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore, 75, a Democrat who shared a stage with Obama on Feb. 9 when the president came to promote the stimulus.

Housing Market ‘Awful’

Still, in the automotive and housing industries, the economy around Elkhart hasn’t provided many encouraging signs.

The Elkhart area, which calls itself the RV capital of the U.S., lost more than 15,000 jobs in the past year as sales slumped at local RV and manufactured-housing companies.

“The housing markets are still just awful,” said Rick Lavers, president and CEO of Coachmen Industries Inc., which makes modular homes and sold its RV business last year to Forest River Inc. and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Housing won’t recover until banks are more willing to make loans, Lavers said. “The cash has to get moving in this economy,” he said.

Since April 9, Coachmen’s shares have jumped to $1.32 from 25 cents.

Job Worries

Robert Wilson, president and chief operating officer of Supreme Industries Inc., a maker of specialized truck bodies and shuttle buses in nearby Goshen, said demand for trucks isn’t picking up yet.

“People are still worried about their employment, whether they’re going to find a job or keep their job,” Wilson said. “Until that changes, I don’t see the truck business getting any better.”

Obama is traveling to Indiana two days before the scheduled Aug. 7 release of unemployment figures for July. The national unemployment rate is projected to rise to 9.6%, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, from a 26-year high of 9.5%in June.

Touching Bottom

Other measures suggest the national economy may be touching bottom. Gross domestic product shrank at a 1% annual rate from April through June, after contracting at a 6.4% annual pace in the first quarter. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has risen almost 25% since Obama took office.

The Obama administration has prodded manufacturers to develop more efficient vehicles through a $2.4 billion grant program for development of batteries and related technologies that was included in the $787 billion economic stimulus legislation.

In addition to Obama’s trip, Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu will travel today for events at other battery-technology developers in Detroit and Charlotte, N.C.

The factory where Obama will speak, formerly operated by bankrupt recreational-vehicle manufacturer Monaco Coach Corp., was purchased by Navistar in June. 

Electric Vehicles

Wakarusa-based Electric Motors Corp. will use a plant for a partnership with Nappanee, Indiana-based Gulf Stream Coach Inc. to develop an electric vehicle, Electric Motors CEO Wil Cashen said.

The company has applied for stimulus funds and would be “ecstatic” to get federal help, Cashen said.

If a local company gets an energy grant it “could be huge for our town,” said Wakarusa Chamber of Commerce President Nadine Lengacher, who owns J&N Stone, a family-run stone-veneer manufacturing company.

In Elkhart, projects funded by the stimulus, including sewer improvements and a $4.2 million airport-paving project, may have saved or created between 400 and 500 jobs, Moore said.

“We can see a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Bill Stevens, 41, vice president of Brooks Construction Co., of Fort Wayne, Ind., which rehired about 10 or 15 laid-off employees to work on a $10 million stimulus-funded construction contract on part of U.S. Highway 33 in Elkhart County. “It’s a matter of riding out the storm.”

While Lengacher sees some signs of recovery, she credits the “determination of the people who live in this county” and not Obama’s economic-recovery plan. “It’s a community that’s not one to sit back and cry because things are so bad.”

Counseling Patience

In Wakarusa today, Obama will counsel patience, said chief spokesman Robert Gibbs.

“It is going to take some time to move our economy from where we are, to get our economy back on track,” Gibbs said Tuesday. “The president will not be satisfied until we’re creating jobs.”

Coachmen CEO Lavers said many of his neighbors are getting tired of waiting.

“We’re eight months into 2009 and there’s no real perceptible turn on Main Street,” Lavers said. “I think people’s patience is about done.”

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Supreme Industries Reports First Quarter Results

May 18, 2009 by · Comments Off on Supreme Industries Reports First Quarter Results 

Supreme Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of specialized commercial vehicles, including truck bodies, shuttle buses, armored vehicles, homeland response vehicles and luxury motorcoaches, has announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 28, 2009.

First-quarter 2009 net sales were $49.3 million, compared with $75.9 million in the same period of 2008. Supreme’s core dry-freight and bus product sales were off 44% and 26% year-over-year, respectively.

Supreme is a Goshen, Ind.-based assembler of commercial vehicles that partly shares the same supplier base with the RV industry.

The company noted that, due to the effect of the recession and restrictive credit markets, there was a severe and pervasive downturn in commercial vehicle sales during the first quarter. Additionally, in management’s judgment, a number of StarTrans customers delayed bus product purchases in anticipation of finalized Federal mass-transit stimulus funding.

The net loss for the first quarter was  $1.4 million, versus net income $200,000, in last year’s comparable quarter.

Robert W. Wilson, Supreme president and COO, said, “In anticipation of the steep decline in business activity, management has been prudently allocating resources to longer-term initiatives while addressing the recessionary market conditions. To date, management has implemented annualized cost reductions of approximately $12.3 million, with a large component of the savings resulting from our 36% headcount reduction.”

He continued: “With the bus backlog now growing, we recently added production of the StarTrans shuttle bus line to our Woodburn, Ore., plant, where we now manufacture curved-wall fiberglass shuttle buses such as Supreme’s Senator and Candidate models. This new bus production capacity enables Supreme to provide enhanced service capabilities west of the Rockies and in western Canada and improves our competitiveness in these markets due to freight-cost savings. With a full line of bus products, our nationwide presence and a strong sales organization, we are strategically well-positioned in this sector.

“Additionally, the Department of State business for armored vehicles has been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak economic environment as net sales for the quarter were $3.3 million.”

Wilson concluded: “Although we have recently seen some signals that indicate easing credit markets and improved economic indicators in some market sectors, we have yet to observe any convincing evidence that a sustained rebound in demand is underway. However, new commercial vehicle registrations in 2008 were at their lowest level since 1994; thus, we believe that there is pent-up demand from an aging fleet of commercial vehicles that will soon need to be replaced.

“When the replacement cycle begins, our expectation is that Supreme’s diversified product line, aggressive cost reductions and solid balance sheet will allow us to benefit from any improvement in demand.”

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