Winnebago Industries is ending its fiscal year with positive news, reporting its highest motor home order backlog since the recession. For the quarter ending August 25th, the Forest City-based recreational vehicle manufacturer earned nearly $41-million, up from $3.5-million in the same quarter last year.

The fourth quarter results include a non-cash tax benefit of 34-million. Excluding that benefit, Winnebago’s adjusted profit was 14-cents per share for the quarter. Winnebago C.E.O. Randy Potts credited the jump in net income to an increase in motor home and towable RV deliveries and higher average selling prices for its products.

He says the company is going in the right direction with the help of improved market conditions. He also credits the company’s goal of setting out to get a bigger piece of the market. Potts says motor home sales increased 21-percent during the quarter while towable sales leaped 94%.

He says the towable business started small and there was an anticipated amount of growth, while the motor home growth is more significant as they try to increase their share in the market, which currently sits at about 19%. Potts says the R-V market is turning back in a positive direction after the recession.

He says it’s not coming back “leaps and bounds” but there is some growth nationwide in the motor home market. Potts says it’s currently about 50% of what the market was back in the 1980s, 90s, and the early part of the 2000s. Potts says gas prices being in the $3-to-$4 range nationwide is not having an impact on sales.

He says people are used to the gas prices, and while they do offer some fuel efficient models, there’s still great success in selling the larger models. For the full fiscal year, Winnebago earned $45 million, or $1.54 per share, up from $11.8 million, or 41 cents per share, for the previous year.

Revenue rose 17% to $581.7 million from $496.4 million.

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City