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Cequent to Provide Towing System on Ford Trucks

November 9, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Cequent Performance Products will supply an optional cross-bed towing system on the 2011 Ford Super Duty F-series truck, according to Automotive News.

The towing system, for towing gooseneck and fifth-wheel trailers of up to 25,000 pounds, is produced at the Cequent plant in Goshen, Ind., and then shipped to Magna International Inc.’s plant in Bowling Green, Ohio, for frame assembly and then on to Ford’s truck plant in Louisville, Ky.

Production of the trucks will start in January and the vehicles will be at dealerships by mid-February, a Cequent spokewoman told Automotive News. Cequent, a subsidiary of TriMas Corp. of suburban Detroit, makes cargo management and rack systems, towing and hitch systems and trailer and electrical brake systems.

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TriMas’ Cequent Segment Reports 6.5% Sales Dip

November 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

TriMas logoTriMas Corp. today (Nov. 9) announced financial results for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

The Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based company reported quarterly net sales from continuing operations of $203.7 million, a decrease of 21.9% from third quarter of 2008. Third quarter 2009 income from continuing operations decreased 19.2% from third quarter 2008 to $6.5 million from $8.1 million a year ago, according to a news release.

For its Cequent towing products segment, sales decreased 6.5% for the third quarter compared to the year ago period. The company continued to experience weak, but improving, consumer demand for heavy-duty towing, trailer and electrical products, as a result of uncertain economic conditions and reductions in consumer discretionary spending, and the unfavorable effects of currency exchange, partially offset by a slight increase in sales in the Australia/Asia Pacific business.

Operating profit for the quarter improved as a result of cost reductions implemented as part of the company’s Profit Improvement Plan, partially offset by lower sales volumes, unfavorable foreign currency exchange and lower absorption of fixed costs. Due to the cost reduction actions, operating profit as a percentage of sales also improved approximately 560 basis points compared to the third quarter of 2008. The segment was negatively impacted by $2.1 million in charges associated with the closure of its Mosinee, Wis., manufacturing facility and other business restructuring costs. The company continues to aggressively reduce fixed costs, decrease working capital and leverage strong brand positions for increased market share.

“We are executing on our productivity, working capital and growth initiatives,” said David Wathen, TriMas president and CEO. “Compared to last quarter, we improved operating profit margin by 280 basis points on slightly lower revenues, decreased operating working capital by almost $23 million and generated over $43 million of free cash flow. Sales and end market demand are still down, but we are using this environment to make TriMas a permanently better business.

“As we move forward, we will continue our focus on reducing costs and working capital in each business segment. We remain focused on debt reduction and the protection of our liquidity. During the quarter, we reduced total indebtedness by $22 million and ended the quarter with almost $25 million in cash. While we are pleased with the progress we are making across these initiatives, there is more work to be done.

“For the full year of 2009, we continue to anticipate revenue to be down 20% to 25% compared to 2008, consistent with our comments last quarter. We are  allocating some resources to key growth initiatives aimed at expanding end markets and geographies. We are also beginning to see positive signs in some of our businesses, as our Packaging and Cequent segments project fourth quarter 2009 revenues close to fourth quarter 2008 levels. These developments lead us to expect at least modest revenue gains for next year. We are, however, continuing to operate our company with the realization we are still in a time of economic uncertainty. We are committed to maintaining cushion on our bank covenants, delevering TriMas and ensuring liquidity for our future endeavors.”

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Cequent Products Inks Pact with Ford on Towing System

September 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Cequent logoTriMas Corp. today (Sept. 28) announced that Cequent Performance Products Inc. reached an agreement with Ford Motor Co. to supply a patented cross bed towing system to be offered as an option on 2011 production Super Duty trucks.

Using designs from its Reese Signature Series fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitch family, Cequent customized a unique frame mounted cross bed towing system designed for towing gooseneck and fifth-wheel style trailers. Using a patented “drop in” gooseneck hitch ball or the patented, customized fifth-wheel hitch, users can now pull trailers up to 25,000 pounds (depending on rated vehicle capability) using a system that is integrated with pickup trucks built at the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant factory, according to a news release.

Cequent’s Reese brand is the leading name in heavy duty fifth-wheel, gooseneck, weight distributing and sway control systems designed for pulling recreational vehicle, utility, horse/livestock, cargo and construction trailer applications. For almost 60 years, Reese products have offered design features and distinctive looks that have great functionality and a very high acceptance in the towing and trailering market.

“The combination of Cequent, the leader in the towing industry, and Ford, the nation’s leading truck producer, complements each company’s existing strengths and provides customers the best product offering available in the market place,” said Tom Benson, president of Cequent Performance Products. “It has long been our goal to work with manufacturers to make towing trailers easier. Integrating a specially designed under bed cross member allows for specific integration with the truck frame and a secure towing experience.”

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TriMas Execs on Live Webcast Wednesday Morning

September 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

TriMas logoDavid M. Wathen, president and CEO of TriMas Corp.,  and A. Mark Zeffiro, CFO, will be presenting at the Deutsche Bank 17th Annual Leveraged Finance Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Wednesday (Sept. 30), according to a news release.

Their appearance is scheduled to begin at 11:55 a.m. EST. The live webcast and presentation will be available in the Investor Relations section of the company’s website at www.trimascorp.com.

Headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., TriMas Corp. is divided into five strategic business segments. Its Cequent segment serves the RV industry.

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TriMas Corp. Settles Dispute with Bulldog Hitch Copier

September 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

logoTriMas Corp. today (Sept. 17) announced that its Cequent Performance Products Inc. subsidiary has reached an agreement with Pacific Rim International LLC to protect the intellectual property rights of various Cequent Bulldog brand trailer couplers.

Earlier this year, Cequent discovered that Pacific Rim had copied the technology and infringed upon the design of the configuration of several models of Cequent’s Bulldog trailer couplers, TriMas stated in a news release. Cequent’s Bulldog brand is a leading name in heavy duty couplers designed for utility, horse/livestock, cargo and construction trailer applications. The Bulldog design features a very distinctive look that has great functionality and very high acceptance in these markets. Cequent’s Bulldog couplers are available in configurations to match virtually any trailer.

In response to Cequent’s claims, Pacific Rim acknowledged the validity of Cequent’s product configuration trademark and registration and agreed to settle the dispute for an undisclosed amount. In addition, Pacific Rim agreed to cease all sales of the couplers in dispute no later than Oct. 31, destroying any unsold products after this agreed-upon short sell-off period. During the sell-off period, Pacific Rim must clearly identify the manufacturer of these couplers to avoid confusion in the market place.

Cequent is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of accessories for light trucks, sport utility vehicles, recreational vehicles, passenger cars and trailers of all types. Products include cargo management and rack systems, towing and hitch systems, and trailer and electrical brake systems.

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TriMas Corp. to Move Stock from NYSE to NASDAQ

August 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

trimas-logoTriMas Corp. announced Wednesday (Aug. 12)  that it will voluntarily transfer its stock exchange listing in the U.S. from the New York Stock Exchange to the NASDAQ Global Market effective Aug. 24.

The company’s stock will continue to trade under the symbol “TRS.”

“We believe that NASDAQ offers TriMas and its shareholders advanced technologies and cost-effective services, as well as efficient and transparent market access and execution,” said David Wathen, TriMas president and CEO of the Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based manufacturer whose Cequent family of towing products serves the RV industry.

“We are delighted that TriMas selected NASDAQ as their market of choice,” said Bruce Aust, executive vice president, NASDAQ OMX. “We look forward to providing them and their shareholders with the best products and services NASDAQ OMX has to offer.”

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Hitch-Maker TriMas’s Sales and Income Decrease

August 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

 trimas-logo 

Diversified manufacturer TriMas Corp., Bloomfield Hills, Mich., today (Aug. 4) reportered quarter net sales from continuing operations of $208.6 million, a decrease of 26.2% from the same quarter last year.from the prior year second quarter.  The company reported operating profit of $15.6 million for the second quarter, a decrease of 48.5% in comparison to operating profit of  $30.3 million in the second quarter 2008.

TriMas services the RV industry through its Cequent Group, comprised of several towing product brands that include Draw-Tite, Reese, Fulton, Wesbar, Bull Dog, Hidden Hitch and Tekonsha.

Sales in all five of TriMas’ business segments declined in comparison to the prior year second quarter, primarily due to reductions in volume as a result of continued weak global economic activity and reduced consumer discretionary spending. Net sales were also negatively impacted by approximately $6.7 million due to currency exchange, as reported results  in U.S. dollars were impacted by weaker foreign currencies.

The company reduced total indebtedness, including amounts outstanding under its receivables securitization facility, by $37.8 million compared to March 31, and by $102.0 million compared to June 30, 2008. 

Sales decreased 19.7% for the second quarter in TriMas’ Cequent division compared to the year ago period. The company continued to experience weak consumer demand for heavy-duty towing, trailer and electrical products, as a result of the uncertain economic conditions and reductions in consumer discretionary spending, and the unfavorable effects of currency exchange, partially offset by a slight increase in sales to the retail channel. 

The segment was also negatively impacted by $2.1 million in costs associated with the closure of its Mosinee, Wisc., manufacturing facility and other business restructuring costs. The company continues to aggressively reduce fixed costs, decrease working capital and leverage strong brand positions for increased market share.

During the second quarter  TriMas: 

  • Generated positive cash flow and reduced inventory levels compared to the prior quarter end in all business segments.
  • Grew specialty dispensing product sales at Rieke Packaging and titanium screw sales at Monogram Aerospace, increasing content on certain aircraft.
  • Opened new Lamons Sales and Service Centers in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and Salt Lake City, Utah, to enhance service to key global customers.
  • Completed integration of Cequent’s towing, trailer and electrical  products businesses, including a consolidated ERP system, cross-trained customer service team and centralized distribution center.

“Despite the challenging market conditions across the majority of our end markets, I am pleased with the execution of our key initiatives during the second quarter,” said David Wathen, TriMas president and CEO. “Our free cash flow to income from continuing operations conversion rate was over 200%, driven by considerable reductions in working capital. All of our business segments were cash flow positive during the quarter and we reduced total debt by over $100 million during the past year.

“While we aggressively implement our cost reduction and productivity improvement initiatives across the company, we are also allocating some resources to key growth initiatives aimed at expanding end markets and geographies. We remain focused on using our strong brands, talented teams and broad product portfolio to gain market share during this down market. These initiatives will enhance our position for the balance of 2009 and beyond.”

“As we move forward over the remainder of 2009, we have not planned for any improvements in the end markets we serve, although we have seen some stabilization at these weak levels. We believe our 2009 sales levels will be down 20% to 25% in comparison to 2008, although we are expanding our efforts to drive new sales opportunities for the future. We remain focused on cash flow and available liquidity during these uncertain times, and are pleased to have again exceeded our forecast on both during the quarter. We are committed to maintaining adequate cushion on our bank covenants, delevering TriMas and ensuring adequate liquidity for our future endeavors.”

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Cequent Parent Trimas Below NYSE Standards

March 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Diversified manufacturer TriMas Corp. reported that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) said the company no longer meets its listing standards.

According to the Associated Press, Bloomfield, Mich.-based TriMas said over the past 30 trading days that its total market capitalization was less than $75 million, and its most recently reported stockholders’ equity was less than $75 million.

TriMas said it will submit a plan to the NYSE that details how it will comply with the NYSE’s continued listing standards. This plan will detail ways to improve its balance sheet, support business initiatives to improve profitability and generate strong cash flow.

The company services the RV industry through its Cequent Group, comprised of several towing product brands that include Draw-Tite, Reese, Fulton, Wesbar, Bull Dog, Hidden Hitch and Tekonsha.

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