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Thor Acquires Some Legendary Towable Brands

February 20, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Bob Martin

Along with the former Allied Specialty Vehicles Inc. (ASV) towable RV-manufacturing plant that it just purchased on Indiana 19 on the south side of Elkhart, Ind., Thor Industries Inc. also acquired a host of towable brand names once marketed by ASV and its predecessor, Monaco RV, from whom they were purchased last year.

Included are a host of legendary nameplates like Presidential, Aluma-Lite, Alumascape, Trail-Lite, R-Vision, Trail Cruiser and Trail Sport, Thor President and CEO Bob Martin confirms.

“We didn’t put it all in a press release because it was more than a mouthful and at the end of the day, right now, our biggest priority was that we needed production for motorized,” Martin said of Tuesday’s (Feb. 18) announcement that Elkhart-based Thor had acquired ASV’s 220,000-square-foot towable plant which served for a number of years prior to that as Monaco Coach Corp.’s motorized chassis plant.

And while Martin indicated that the newly acquired ASV plant will facilitate the continued expansion of his company’s Thor Motor Coach division, plans for those towable brands are still quite preliminary.

“I have a long list of brands that we now have at our disposal and basically I’ve opened them up to Keystone and to all of our companies (Thor divisions) that might have an interest in them,” said Martin. “You know, some of these are iconic brand names that we just don’t yet know how they’re going to be used, but we did get the names.”

Meanwhile, as part of the agreement to purchase the Indiana 19 plant, Thor is working with a variety of dealers – including its own Thor retailers – to unload some of the finished inventory on hand at the former ASV plant.

“So, we’re taking on that burden,” said Martin. “Dealers will be contacted by some people working for us through ASV and I’m trying to make sure that the dealers that need inventory are the ones that are getting it. You know, we’ve had dealers that weren’t even Monaco dealers call and say, ‘I’ll buy them all,’ just trying to get a deal. And we’re trying to do the right thing and make sure that retails are taken care of first and foremost and also dealers that need inventory, dealers that don’t have a line right away, So, I’m kind of behind the scenes helping with that.”

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Thor Buys Plant to Grow Motorhome Operations

February 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Thor Industries Inc. today (Feb. 18) announced an expansion of production capacity for its motorhomes through an agreement to purchase a 220,000-square-foot facility located in Elkhart, Ind., formerly used to produce Monaco towable recreational vehicles and owned by Allied Specialty Vehicles Inc.

According to a press release, the additional production capacity will be used to meet continued strong demand for products produced by the company’s Thor Motor Coach (TMC) subsidiary.

TMC will operate the plant with plans to begin production in the new facility during the second half of the Thor’s fiscal year. On Feb. 4, Thor announced that sales of motorized RVs increased by 43.8% to $339.3 million for the first six months ended Jan. 31.

“We are pleased to once again have the opportunity to expand our motorized operations in Elkhart County,” said Bob Martin, Thor president and CEO. “With the recovery of the motorized RV market gaining strength over the past year, we have pursued opportunistic expansion of our motorized production capacity, first with the acquisition of the Wakarusa complex and now with this plant on the south side of Elkhart. We view this expansion as an important step to meet both our immediate production needs and long-term strategic goals for our motorized business.”

Jeff Kime, president of Thor Motor Coach, noted, “This facility presents us with the ability to expand our capacity while maintaining the flexibility to meet emerging demands for our products in the market. In addition, the increased capacity will allow us to reduce overtime and the current stress on our existing plants and better align our production volumes with higher demand for our products. We have begun operations on two production lines at our Wakarusa plant purchased last year, but that additional capacity isn’t sufficient to meet the growth of our markets.  As a result, when the opportunity to set up operations in this facility presented itself, we jumped at the chance to expand production for what is shaping up to be another strong year of growth.”

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Weather Impacts Thor Second-Quarter Revenue

February 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Thor Industries Inc. today (Feb. 4) announced preliminary sales as well as continued growth in the company’s backlog for the second quarter and six months, ended Jan. 31.

Preliminary consolidated sales from continuing operations in the second quarter were $636.3 million, down slightly from $636.6 million in the second quarter last year. Towable RV sales for the second quarter totaled $474.1 million, representing a 9.3% decline from $522.8 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2013.  Motorized RV sales in the second quarter increased 42.5% to $162.2 million from $113.8 million in the same quarter a year ago.

For the six months, preliminary consolidated sales from continuing operations were $1.44 billion, up 2.9% from $1.40 billion last year.  Towable RV sales for the six months were $1.1 billion, down 5.2% from $1.16 billion last year while motorized RV sales rose 43.8% to $339.3 million from $236 million last year.

Consolidated backlog on Jan. 31 was $845.2 million, up 37.1% from $616.6 million at the end of the second quarter last year. Towable RV backlog increased 33.7% to $501.9 million, compared to $375.4 million at the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2013.  Motorized RV backlog increased 42.3% to $343.3 million from $241.2 million a year earlier.

“Thor’s sales for the second quarter were adversely affected by the severe winter weather that has plagued the Midwest this year.  In January, our operations in Indiana lost several days of production due to severe cold temperatures and heavy snow,” said Bob Martin, Thor president and CEO.  “The severe weather affected our ability to receive materials, run production and ship units amid the frigid temperatures and hazardous road conditions.  The second quarter sales total also reflects the impact of certain operational moves we’ve made over the past few months.  Ultimately, these factors have resulted in a shift in the timing of deliveries and revenues from the second quarter to later in the year as indicated by our backlog growth. The RV markets remain strong as reflected by the higher traffic and increased sales activity we’ve seen in the early retail shows,” he added.

Thor expects to report its second-quarter operating results on March 6.

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Motley Fool: Thor 1Q Reflects Motorhome Surge

December 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following column, authored by Nickey Friedman for The Motley Fool, offers a different perspective on Thor Industries Inc.’s recent earnings statement that analysts said fell short of expectations.

When Thor Industries reported its most recent results, the market let out a yawn. But investors who only look at the overall numbers are missing out on a fantastic growth story. While it’s true that this is the off-season for RV sales, one segment of Thor Industries’ business is nonetheless taking off like a rocket.

Thor Industries reported its fiscal first-quarter results on Dec. 2. Overall revenue inched up 5% to $800 million while net income from continuing operations shot up 27% to $36.4 million, or 68 cents per share.

Of the $800 million in revenue, the towable RV segment saw sales slip 3% to $662.9 million. While that’s certainly uninspiring, the motorized RV segment saw sales explode 45% to $177.1 million.

Here’s where it gets interesting

Thor Executive Chairman Peter Orthwein pointed out that this past quarter and the next are “characterized by a more seasonally competitive environment.” Of course, purchasing and using RVs tend to be more popular activities in the warmer months than the colder ones. Yet despite this, motorized RV sales actually increased sequentially by 5.3% in this fall quarter when compared to the previous summer quarter, even given an unusually cold October.

This suggests that demand for the motorized RV segment is accelerating very fast, and could be much more pronounced beginning in the spring selling season. Motorized RV sales still only made up 22% of revenue this quarter, but that’s up from 15% a year ago. As motorized RV sales continue to grow as a percentage of overall sales, the impact of its contribution might increase further.

The backlog story

Backlog further paints a picture of growing demand for motorized RVs. While backlog was up significantly for both segments, the motorized RV portion is frankly going bananas. Towable RV backlog was up 13.5%, or $49.9 million, to $419.8 million. Motorized RV backlog was up a jaw-dropping 113.6%, or $166.6 million, to $313.4 million.

Motorized RV backlog is now at 42.7% of the overall total backlog. In terms of absolute dollars, the motorized backlog grew 234% higher than the towable RV backlog. At this pace, motorized RV demand could overtake towable RV demand.

To read the entire article on Dailyfinance.com click here.

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Motorhome Sales Drive Gains in Thor 1Q Profits

December 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor Industries Inc. today (Dec. 2) announced a 33% increase in net income for its fiscal first quarter, ended Oct. 31, on a 5% increase in sales.

Sales from continuing operations for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 were $800 million compared to $761.4 million in the first quarter last year, driven by continued strong growth in motorized sales, which was partially offset by a small decrease in towable RV sales.

Net income from continuing operations rose 27% to $36.4 million, or 68 cents per share, versus $28.7 million, or 54 cents per share, in the prior-year first quarter. Including the discontinued operations of Thor’s bus business, net income for the first quarter was $41.1 million, up 33% from $31 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Results of discontinued operations included a gain on the sale of the bus business of approximately $7.8 million.

Gross profit margins improved to 13.1% in the first quarter compared to 12.1% in the prior year period. Thor noted that it completed acquisitions of Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles LLC and Bison Coach, expanding its “breadth of products in complementary towable RV markets.”

“Thor made significant progress toward achieving our strategic goals over the past year and that is evidenced by our improved financial results,” said Bob Martin, Thor president and CEO. “Despite these improvements, we faced a number of short-term challenges as we transitioned the first motorized production line to Wakarusa, Ind., near the end of the first quarter, which created some start-up costs that may continue as we open a second line this quarter. We also closed two smaller production facilities on the West Coast and are in the process of consolidating their production into our larger complex in Oregon. In addition to these events, we completed two acquisitions and built on our strategic foundation leaving us confident in our ability to meet the expectations of our dealers and customers while delivering improved results for our shareholders.”

First-quarter highlights included:

• Towable RV sales were $622.9 million for the first quarter, down 3% from $639.2 million in the prior year period. Income before tax was $45.6 million, up 7% from $42.7 million in the first quarter last year, primarily as a result of ongoing efforts to improve operating margins and efficiencies.

• Motorized RV sales were $177.1 million for the first quarter, up 45% from $122.2 million in the prior year first quarter. Income before tax was $13.4 million, up 60% from $8.4 million last year, which was driven primarily by increased sales volumes.

• Consolidated backlog on Oct. 31 was $733.2 million, up 41.9% from $516.7 million at the end of the first quarter last year. Towable RV backlog increased 13.5% to $419.8 million, compared to $369.9 million at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Motorized RV backlog increased 113.6% to $313.4 million from $146.8 million a year earlier.

“Although our first and second quarters are generally characterized by a more seasonally competitive environment, Thor generated improved operating results for the first quarter of fiscal 2014,” said Peter B. Orthwein, Thor executive chairman. “As we look ahead to the largest RV trade show of the year being held in Louisville this week, we have reason for optimism given the strength of our products and continued improvement in industry retail demand heading into the early retail show season in January.”

To view the full report click here.

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Thor Bolstering its RV Focus With Acquisitions

November 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s been a year of change at Thor Industries Inc. as the company has refocused its efforts on the RV business.

The South Bend (Ind.) Tribune reported that the company took another step in that direction last week by announcing that it had acquired the assets of Bison Coach, a specialty trailer manufacturer, from an operating unit of Navistar Inc. for about $16.7 million.

The latest purchase is part of a whirlwind year for the RV company. In the past year, the company also has moved its corporate headquarters to Elkhart from Jackson Center, Ohio, purchased Livin’ Lite RV, sold its bus business to Allied Specialty Vehicles for $100 million, sold most of the assets of its ambulance subsidiary SJC Industries to Wheeled Coach Industries Inc., a subsidiary of Allied Specialty Vehicles Inc., and purchased the former Navistar and Monaco Coach plant in Wakarusa.

“For us, we’ve really positioned the company to be primarily an RV company,” said Bob Martin, Thor Industries president and CEO, in a phone interview.

“Throughout the year we’ve moved away from ambulance and bus, and we’ve picked up Livin’ Lite, who’s a small RV manufacturer in Wakarusa,” said Martin, who became CEO in June when Peter Orthwein gave up the position to focus on serving as executive chairman of the board.

“We’ve purchased the Wakarusa production complex to manufacture motorhomes for Thor Motor Coach,” he continued. “That’s a part of the market we feel is coming back and that we’re doing very well in.”

Thor’s total Indiana employment is now about 7,600.

To read the full article click here.

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Thor Posts Solid Gains in 1Q Motorhome Sales

November 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor Industries Inc. today (Nov. 4) announced preliminary sales, as well as continued growth in the company’s backlog, for its fiscal 2014 first quarter, ended Oct. 31.

Preliminary consolidated sales from continuing operations in the first quarter were $802.6 million, up 5.4% from $761.4 million in the first quarter last year. Towable RV sales for the first quarter were $625.7 million, down 2.1% from $639.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Motorized RV sales in the first quarter increased 44.8% to $176.9 million from $122.2 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Consolidated backlog on Oct. 31 was $733.2 million, representing a 41.9% increase from $516.7 million the previous year. Towable RV backlog increased 13.5% to $419.8 million compared to $369.9 million at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Motorized RV backlog more than doubled to $313.4 million from $146.8 million a year earlier.

“Thor achieved solid improvements in our preliminary sales for the first quarter of the fiscal year. Our towable sales were somewhat softer compared with the prior year, while our motorized sales posted very strong growth as that market continues to recover sharply,” said Bob Martin, Thor president and CEO. “While we have seen stability in the overall towable market, we took the opportunity to be disciplined in our towable business in an effort to better balance our production with industry demand, which should benefit Thor during the more seasonally slow fall and winter months.

“In motorized, we have begun production on our first line in Wakarusa and we expect to have the second line in operation during the fiscal second quarter, both of which will help support our overall growth. We expect to report our first-quarter operating results on Dec. 2.”

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Thor Buys Specialty Trailer Builder Bison Coach

November 1, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Thor Industries Inc. announced that, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, it has acquired the net assets of specialty trailer manufacturer Bison Coach from an operating unit of Navistar Inc. The purchase price, which will be paid in cash, is approximately $16.7 million, subject to post-closing adjustments.

“We are pleased to welcome Bison Coach to the Thor team. The addition of Bison adds depth in a new specialty market of equine trailers equipped with living quarters,” said Bob Martin, Thor president and CEO, in a press release. “We believe there are solid opportunities to leverage the design and distribution strengths of our core RV businesses to Bison’s existing products and markets, resulting in better growth in revenues and profitability. Bringing Thor’s strength in designing innovative living spaces in the RV business to Bison’s living quarters makes perfect sense and should help drive additional improvements in Bison’s products.”

Martin noted that given the close proximity of its operations and its similar heavy use of aluminum construction, Bison will be reporting to Scott Tuttle, president of Thor’s Livin’ Lite RV subsidiary.

Founded in 1984, Milford, Ind.-based Bison is known for its rugged, high-quality and affordable specialty trailers. In 2003, Bison began adding living quarter conversions to their production process resulting in the development of a complete line of equine trailers with living quarters.

Bison Coach is expected to generate sales of approximately $30 million for its fiscal year ending, Oct. 31, and Thor expects the acquisition to be accretive to earnings.

“We are excited to join the Thor family, the North American leader in RVs that can provide the resources we need to grow our business,” said Zac Binkley, president and general manager of Bison Coach. “We share many of the common traits of Thor, including strength in product innovation and a strong focus on product quality and customer service. Our combination should provide a great cultural fit and a strong partner to foster our continued growth.”

Thor expects Bison Coach will continue to operate out of its existing Milford facilities with minimal disruption to its current business resulting from the acquisition.

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Thor Finalizes Sale of its Bus Division to Allied

October 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Thor Industries Inc. today (Oct.) announced the completion of the sale of its bus business to Allied Specialty Vehicles Inc. and the receipt of $100 million in cash proceeds from the transaction. The cash proceeds will be adjusted to reflect changes in net assets of the bus business since April 30 based on the final valuation of net assets as of October 20.

Thor also announced that its board approved the payment of a special dividend of $1 per common share. The special dividend is payable on November 19 to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 5.

“With the completion of the sale of the bus business, Thor is embarking on a new period in its history with a focus purely on the growth of the RV business,” said Peter B. Orthwein, Thor executive chairman.  “While we will continue to use our cash to grow our core RV business and maintain and grow our regular dividend, the Board decided that the payment of a special dividend was in the best interest of our shareholders at this time.  This marks the second year in a row that we have paid a special dividend and is another example of our priority in returning cash to our shareholders.”

Thor expects to report preliminary sales for its fiscal first quarter ended October 3 on Nov. 4.

 

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Thor Announces Increase in Quarterly Dividend

October 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor Industries, Inc. announced today (Oct. 4) that its Board of Directors approved, at their Oct. 4, 2013 meeting, an increase of the payment amount of Thor’s regular quarterly dividend to $0.23 per share from $0.18 per share, an increase of nearly 28%.

The regular dividend is payable on Oct. 28, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Oct. 18, 2013.

“Our Board’s decision to increase our regular quarterly dividend reflects our continuing pattern of returning cash to our shareholders and the confidence of our Board in the future performance of Thor,” said Peter B. Orthwein, Thor executive chairman. “Upon receipt of the anticipated proceeds from the sale of our bus businesses, which is expected to close by Nov. 1, we expect to have approximately $6 per share in total cash, which we will use according to our ongoing priorities to grow our operations, maintain and grow our regular dividend and fund special dividends or share repurchases as appropriate.”

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