Jackson Center, Ohio-based Thor Industries Inc. today (Sept. 26) reported double-digit gains in its fourth quarter and record sales for its fiscal year, ended July 31.
Sales for the fourth quarter were $888.2 million, up 15% from $770.5 million in the fourth quarter last year. Net income during the period was $44.4 million, up 20% from $36.9 million in the fourth quarter a year ago. Basic earnings per share were 84¢, an increase of 27% from 66¢ last year.
Sales for the fiscal year totaled nearly $3.1 billion, up 12% from $2.75 billion in the prior year. Net income rose 15% to $121.7 million from $106.3 million in the prior year while basic earnings per share were $2.26, up 18% versus $1.92 in the prior fiscal year.
Total RV sales for the fourth quarter increased 18% to $769.9 million from nearly $654 million in the fourth quarter last year. Towable RV sales rose 17% to $662 million while motorized RV sales were up 22% to $107.9 million.
Total RV sales for the year were $2.6 billion, up 13% from $2.3 billion last year. Towable RV sales increased 16% to $2.3 billion and motorized RV sales edged down 3% to $353.9 million
“Thor delivered record annual revenue and improving results in the fourth quarter and 2012 fiscal year, driven by a growing RV market and continuing solid bus market,” said Thor Chairman Peter B. Orthwein. “Assuming stable macroeconomic conditions, we anticipate continuing increases in both of our industries through the remainder of calendar 2012 and into 2013, fueled by growth in RV retail sales, right-sized RV dealer inventories and demand for replacement buses.
“Thor’s RV Open House in Elkhart, Ind., last week was another success. Dealers remain optimistic and demonstrated their confidence in Thor’s new RV product lines through their orders. The strength of Thor’s management team, coupled with new product launches, position Thor to perform well, despite strong competitive pressure, in the fiscal year ahead,” he added.
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Driving down the Indiana Toll Road and passing the RV/MH Hall of Fame last week a person would have had to wonder just what’s going on.
As reported by the South Bend Tribune, hundreds of recreational vehicles were on display in the field adjacent to the hall, parking lots were busy, hotel rooms were full and lots of people were roaming the grounds.
Thousands of RV dealers from all 50 states, Canada and even China were in town checking out the 2013 model offerings of most major RV makers in Elkhart County.
Thor industries Inc.’s Open House was held at the Hall of Fame. But most of the other 11 shows were just a short distance away on County Road 6.
For dealers such as Bruno Tombari Jr. from Bella Vista RV Centre in Hawkestone, Ontario, it was quite an opportunity.
“We set our tone for our entire season pretty much at this show,” said Tombari, as he toured the grounds at the hall with his father, Bruno Sr., checking out all the latest offerings from Thor’s brands including Keystone, CrossRoads, Heartland, Dutchmen, Breckenridge and Thor Motor Homes.
“Thor is one of the largest lines we carry,” Tombari Jr. said
The South Bend Tribune reported that Thor’s President and COO Bob Martin said at least 3,000 dealers were at the Thor Open House alone from Tuesday through Thursday. But many dealers such as Tombari got in their cars and visited the other shows.
“We go down to Forest River and also to Fleetwood and Newmar as we represent those lines also,” Tombari said.
What Tombari likes most of all is how much he can get accomplished with so many shows going on just a few miles from each other.
“It allows you in a few days to do something that might take you four to five visits throughout a year,” he said. “Now you can do it in a three-day segment.”
In the business world, this is really a win, win, win with the dealers, the manufacturers and the town of Elkhart all reaping financial rewards.
It all started five years ago, with Forest River Inc. holding an open house for dealers, said Mark Bowersox, executive director of the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC). Thor got on board three years ago.
“With the two big players in the industry, all of the other manufacturers jumped on board,” Bowersox said.
The end result is a show that has doubled its numbers the past few years, says Diana Lawson, executive director of the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Bowersox said one of the keys is the casual atmosphere of the shows.
As the clock ran down Thursday (Sept. 20) on Elkhart County’s 5th Annual RV Open House Week in and around Elkhart, Ind., exhibiting RV manufacturers were assessing the results of a crazy week that drew thousands of U.S. and Canadian dealer personnel to Elkhart County’s boulevards and side streets for a taste of Indiana hospitality and a good look at the industry’s new 2013 models.
And the initial Open House assessment over at Thor Industries Inc.’s sprawling divisional display at the RV/MH Hall of Fame was decidedly positive, especially since the rains let up on Tuesday afternoon. In fact, Thor President and COO Bob Martin was pleased to see an increase in pre-registered retailers as well as non-registered dealers who showed up unannounced at Thor’s Open House display.
Given the strong sales last week at the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association’s Hershey Show, however, Martin pretty much saw it coming. “Everybody has really liked the changes in products in every division,” said Martin. “For me, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. We expect it (positive attitudes). But until you get here and hear from the dealers, you never know. So, to see a lot of dealers smiling and, you know, talking about ordering, it’s a good sign for the fall.”
Don Emahiser, president of CrossRoads RV, a Topeka, Ind.-based Thor division, says Open House week exceeded his expectations.
“I think Open House has been an even bigger success for us and the (other Thor) companies than in years past,” Emahiser reports. “It get’s bigger every year. Expectations get bigger, and we’ve really surprised ourselves with the performance, I guess, not only for the CrossRoads and Redwood team, but for everybody here at the Thor display. So, we’ve had a real fun week, at least the last couple of days, and we’re looking to end strong as well.”
“Dealers’ attitudes have been really good, especially for an election year,” he added. “You know, you get a little bit of hesitation thinking that it won’t be as good as you expect. But, again, we’ve been really surprised how strong orders have been as well as the attitudes of the dealers and lenders. Again, it’s been a really fun couple days.”
Issuing a similar report on Thursday was Matt Zimmerman, president since February of Thor’s Keystone RV Co., a leading towable RV builder in Goshen, Ind.
“Well, it’s certainly exceeded our expectations, not only in traffic, but just the amount of dealers who came in and placed orders and are excited about all the product changes that we introduced this week,” said Zimmerman. “There’s no question that people are very optimistic with everything that they’re seeing in this latter part of the season, and that’s obviously encouraging.
“You know, when you’re in a display and you’re showing product, whether it’s at Louisville or Open House,” he added, “we don’t always gauge how well we did on orders, even though that’s a big part of it — and we are extremely excited about how we came out of the Open House in terms of orders. But it’s that buzz and what dealers are saying about your product compared to a lot of other competitors that also counts. And we had all of it. So, for us at Keystone, we’re just tickled. We’re almost pinching ourselves.”
Same goes for Chris Hermon, president since May of Thor’s Heartland RV LLC division headquartered in Elkhart. “The dealers are here to do business, which we’re thrilled about here at Thor,” says Hermon. “The first day and a half, with the weather, was a little bit of a challenge. But the dealers have been here in a big way and they’re loving what they’re seeing in our display. It’s a huge push from where we’ve (Heartland) been, and I’m excited about that because product drives everything. So, things are looking good.”
That said, Thor still plans to maintain a major presence at RVIA’s National RV Trade Show, Nov. 27-29 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.
“Yeah,” said Martin, “our (exhibit) space at Louisville’s consistent with what we had last year, and all of the divisions will probably hold a few things back from the Open House for Louisville just to create some excitement there. So, for us, as long as the dealers see value in Louisville relative to the Open House, we’ll support it. The dealers are going to decide over the next few years which way things will go with regard to trade shows. And as long as Louisville’s a show, we’ll be there with a great presence from all the Thor divisions.”
Thor Industries Inc. announced today (Sept. 10) that its board approved an increase in the regular quarterly dividend from 15¢ per share to 18¢ per share during its Sept. 6 meeting.
According to a press release, this is the third increase in Thor’s regular quarterly dividend in three years.
The new regular dividend of 18¢ per share will be paid on Oct. 5 to shareholders of record on Sept. 24.
Thor, based in Jackson Center, Ohio, is the largest manufacturer of recreation vehicles and a major builder of commercial buses and ambulances.
Thor Industries Inc. announced that Richard E. Riegel, senior group president, has decided to leave the company to found a new business, “Airstream 2 Go LLC,” which will rent current model Airstream trailers and tow vehicles to consumers and commercial customers.
According to a press release, Riegel’s resignation from Thor takes effect Sept. 30, after which he will continue in a consulting role for a period of one year.
Peter B. Orthwein, Thor’s chairman and CEO stated: “On behalf of everyone at Thor Industries and its subsidiaries, I thank Dicky for his dedication and contributions during his tenure with our company. He served faithfully in a number of key roles, including president and CEO of Airstream and COO of Thor. We wish Dicky well in all of his future endeavors and look forward to his new company becoming a customer of Thor and Airstream.”
Reflecting on his years with the company, Riegel noted, “As I leave Thor, I have tremendous confidence in the future of the company, given the strength of its corporate and company management teams, outstanding product array and its enduring business model, which has propelled Thor’s growth for over 30 years. That’s a great feeling for me as a continuing Thor shareholder and as a new customer of the company’s Airstream subsidiary in my new business venture.”
He added, “I thank Peter Orthwein and Thor’s board of directors for the myriad opportunities I have enjoyed at Thor over many years and look forward to expanding upon the excellent relationships I have enjoyed throughout Thor and the entire RV industry as I build my new business, Airstream 2 Go.”
Riegel said that further details of the new company will emerge in the coming weeks.
Jackson Center, Ohio-based Thor Industries Inc.’s RV-building divisions have been targeting Elkhart County’s 5th Annual RV Open House Week, which is set for Sept. 17-21 around the RV manufacturing hub of Elkhart, Ind., for a period of months, Thor President Bob Martin reports.
In fact, Martin indicates that Thor’s Airstream, CrossRoads, Dutchmen, Heartland, Keystone, Redwood, Breckenridge and Thor Motor Coach divisions are taking a pretty aggressive approach to this year’s Open House Week in most every respect at the publicly held company’s divisional exhibits on the grounds of the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
“Every Thor division is excited for the Open House coming up,” Martin tells RVBUSINESS.com. “They have had this as a target for product development for the entire year since as far back as the spring for new products, floorplans and other changes for every one of the Thor companies. And this year we’ll have even more units than we had last year and a little bit of an expanded space at the Hall of Fame, and everybody from the Thor group is ready to spend some time with dealers.”
Martin, in turn, is expecting more dealers in town this year after an estimated overall Open House showing last year of about 4,000 retail personnel.
“It looks like there will be even more dealers in town this year,” he added. “Some of them that missed last year have already contacted me and said that, even if they didn’t make it last year, that they’re going to take the time this year to make a trip to Elkhart for the Open House.”
Otherwise, Martin said, Thor will take a similar approach as last year with its exhibit and evening social hour activities, which will include entertainment under the big top by the John Kirkwood Band on Tuesday night and by a group called “Drop 35” the following night for those who congregate for Wednesday’s Casino Night finale.
“We will have more units than last year — 300 plus units at the Thor display, plus a large tent,” reports Martin. “We’re going to bring catered food in for everybody, and there will definitely be much more of a campground feel when you walk through the display versus a Louisville (Show) feel. It’s just nice for every individual brand to be able to show such a wide array, and dealers can enjoy not just looking at two floorplans and two colors but rather seven or eight floorplans of each product.”
Thor Industries Inc. announced today (Aug. 2) record sales for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year, ended July 31.
According to the Jackson Center, Ohio-based company, fourth-quarter sales rose 15% to $887.2 million compared to $770.5 million in the same period a year ago. It represents a record for any quarter in Thor’s history.
RV sales were $769.56 million, up 18% from nearly $654 million in last year’s fourth quarter. Bus group sales edged up 1% to $117.6 million.
Thor also recorded a sales record for the full year, tallying just over $3 billion, representing a 12% increase over $2.75 billion the previous year. For the full year, RV sales were $2.6 billion, up 13% from $2.3 billion in the prior year while bus group sales in the fiscal year gained 7% to $444.2 million.
Cash, cash equivalents and investments on July 31 were $220 million versus $217 million a year ago. Backlog on July 31 was $558 million, up 29% from $432 million last year. RV backlog was $336 million, up 47% from $228 million last fiscal year. Bus group backlog was $222 million, up 9% from $204 million in fiscal 2011.
“Thor achieved record annual revenue for the fiscal year ended July 31,” said Peter B. Orthwein, Thor chairman and CEO. “Likewise, our fourth quarter revenue was very strong, setting a new record for any fourth quarter in Thor’s history. While promotional activity abated somewhat in recent months, the environment remains competitive and industry incentives remain high.
“Our higher year-end backlogs provide optimism for next fiscal year, which is tempered by lower consumer confidence levels and the uncertain economic and political landscapes. RV dealer inventories remain well aligned with consumer demand and, like last year, some dealers are waiting for Thor’s September Open House event in Indiana before increasing their order activity.”
The RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum announced today (July 26) that it had reached its fundraising goal to match the Ingram Family’s $100,000 challenge grant — a full month prior to the Aug. 31 deadline.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of all those individuals and companies who contributed and helped us achieve this success. Contributions snowballed over the last month, putting us over the top,” stated Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s RV/MH Hall of Fame, in a press release.
Two weeks ago, the Hall announced that it was still nearly $10,000 shy of reaching the $100,000 goal. That’s when Jim Hammill, president of Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., a Kitchener, Ontario-based Class B motorhome manufacturer, called the RV/MH Hall of Fame and said he believed it was time the Canadian RV industry “stepped up and showed its support for the Hall of Fame.” Roadtrek contributed $10,000 to make up the shortfall.
In the meantime long-time Hall of Fame supporters Derald Bontrager and Wilber Bontrager, president and CEO, respectively, of Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco Inc., each personally donated $5,000, bringing the total to 110% of the goal.
This week, Thor President and COO Bob Martin visited the Hall bringing two $25,000 checks. Martin emphasized that both the Thompson Family Foundation donation and the matching Thor contribution are in memory of Wade F.B. Thompson, co-founder and former chairman, president and CEO of the Jackson Center, Ohio, RV manufacturer. Thompson passed away in November of 2009.
“Thor definitely sees the importance of the Hall of Fame,” says Martin, “and Thor was one of the large initial donors to the Hall of Fame. And for our industry – and for our community – we want to see the Hall of Fame survive and thrive. And after meeting with Darryl Searer, the new president of the Hall, (current Thor Chairman and CEO) Peter Orthwein and I contacted the foundation and talked with them and decided to make this gift as a match in memory of Wade Thompson, the founder of Thor Industries.”
The timing of this donation comes at a time when the Hall’s prospects seem to be improving, agrees Martin. “Yes, it does. The Hall of Fame seems to be gaining their financial stability, and there are many in the community who are stepping up and helping the Hall of Fame. And it definitely sounds like they have a very good plan in place that many people are willing to buy in to.”
In May, Tony Ingram, representing the Boots and Betty Ingram family, offered $100,000 in the form of a challenge grant for the purpose of lowering the Hall’s bank loan at 1st Source Bank if the Hall could match the grant through contributions from friends of the Hall prior to Sept. 1.
Searer pointed out that he expects the total to rise even higher once the results of the NTP Brick Program promotion is complete. Wilsonville, Ore.-based NTP Distribution Corp. has offered to buy a brick in the RV/MH Walk of Fame honoring all customers who meet a minimum purchase level. The Ingram family had previously agreed to count contributions to the Brick Program as part of the matching donations.
“The success of this fundraiser is a bold statement that people and companies in the RV/MH industries want the hall to succeed and prosper. I cannot thank all of those who contributed enough for their generosity,” Searer said. “It is truly a time for celebration and our celebration continues through the 2012 RV/MH Hall of Fame induction dinner and golf tournament on Aug. 6.”
For those who would like to make reservations for the induction dinner and/or the golf classic visit www.rvmhhalloffame.org. Reservations can also be made by mail, phone or fax.
RV/MH Hall President Daryll Searer (L) accepts a check from Thor President and COO Bob Martin
Thor Industries Inc. announced today (July 25) that Todd Woelfer will become its senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, effective Aug. 6.
According to a news release, Woelfer is currently managing partner of the law firm May Oberfell Lorber. Prior to that he served as general counsel of Coachmen Industries Inc. He will report to Peter Orthwein, chairman and CEO of Jackson Center, Ohio-based Thor.
Woelfer succeeds George Lawrence, who is returning to practice law in Indianapolis where his family resides. Lawrence is staying with Thor until Sept. 15 to assist with the transition.
“We are fortunate to hire Todd who has industry experience, previous public company general counsel experience, and is local and well known and respected by many of our employees. I am confident that Todd will be successful in this position,” commented Peter Orthwein.
The following is an analysis of Thor Industries Inc. appearing on Seeking Alpha, a website offering stock market opinions and financial advice. To read the entire blog click here.
Thor Industries Inc. is the leading producer of recreation vehicles in America. It operates in three main segments: towables (fifth-wheels and trailers) motorized vehicles (traditional RVs) and buses (airports, hotels). For those markets they have market shares of 39%, 22%, 38% as of September 2011. Their revenue for 2011 was $2.75B and their market cap is currently $1.4B.
Before beginning on the company itself it’s worth understanding the RV/towable industry quickly as this accounts for approximately 85% of the company’s sales. The industry peaked in around 2006 shipping almost 400,000 units in America and Canada. The industry was in a bubble for the same reasons the housing market was in a bubble and crashed in a similar manner with industry sales falling to 165,000 within three years. Earnings collapsed for most companies: EPS for Thor went from $1.67 in 2008 to $0.31 in 2009. However, Thor was lucky as many companies went under leaving the industry with fewer competitors. This has led to gain of market share by the other companies including Thor.
Additionally there are a few other industry wide catalysts. First, RVs remain a very economic alternative for many vacations. As long as this continues, the industry will as well. Second, and more importantly, the demographics are favorable for the industry. Currently, the 35-54 year-olds own the most RVs; however, the group that owns most RVs as a percentage of the group is the 55-65 year-old group. With the baby boomers aging, the 55-65 year old age bracket is expected to increase 45% over the next ten years, as opposed to overall population growth of 8%. The industry has been doing well: volume rebounded almost 50% in 2010, and shipments are currently up 8.6% for 2012 yoy.
Overall, the industry is seeing a major shift in products. People are generally looking for smaller RVs: huge rolling palaces are seeing a major decline while fifth wheels have become much more fashionable. Additionally, buyers are looking for more fuel efficient models whether as an upgrade or as a new vehicle.
These industry shifts overall are a positive for Thor. Towables make over 80% of RV revenue and almost 70% of company revenue. The move to more fuel efficient and smaller units fits with Thor’s strategy. Additionally, Thor has been able to capture a larger percentage of the market due to the exit of competitors. Market share in the RV market jumped from 29.4% in 2009 to 38.6% in 2010. It fell to 37.9% in 2011. The company has slightly been losing market share over the past year, as industry shipments have increased slightly more than the company’s towable shipments. Their net sales improved at a faster pace as they were also able to increase the price of their offerings. These numbers are deceiving though: they have achieved these higher sales through discounting and more advertising; in particular they do not include the effect of discounting in their net sales. This has resulted in gross profit only growing 4.8% 9 months YOY. They have, however, been able to reduce corporate costs in SG&A, allowing them to grow their net income at around 10% YOY.
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