Quarterly sales surged for Winnebago Industries as the Forest City-based RV maker reports a 22-percent jump in net income to nearly $13 million and delivering more than 700 motorhomes above the same quarter last year.
Net income for the fiscal year grew 41-percent to $45 million. Winnebago CEO Randy Potts says the company is seeing success after the impact of the recession. Potts says the company will be most effective and efficient if it can grow the business at a measured and predictable rate. He says he wants to continue to grow the company beyond where it is now, but to do it profitably and effectively, it’s best done if there’s a gradual increase.
Pottsthinks the market is settling into that pattern. Potts says with the market increasing in size slowly, the company getting a bigger piece of the market is what’s going to create sustained growth. Potts says the demand continues to be up for the company’s motorhomes as well as towable units.
“The towable market fully recovered to pre-recessionary levels, be we still have for Winnebago specifically, we still have great opportunity in the towable market because we just go into it. On the motorized side, that market is still below prerecession levels and likely still in a recovery mode,” Potts says.
Potts says the company’s motorhome backlog fell about 44-percent during the quarter as production rates rose. He says backlog is watched, as it’s an indicator of the strength of your business. He says the company has stated in the past that too much backlog is a bad thing since it means you’re not filling your orders in a timely manner, while not enough backlog is also a bad thing.
Potts says the company is right now in a “sweet spot” with its backlog level, being able to fill backlogs in a reasonable amount of time. The company’s board of directors this week approved the reinstatement of a quarterly cash dividend of 9 cents per share to holders of common stock.
Potts says it signals the company expects stability and growth in the business going forward. He says you don’t want to declare a dividend if you can’t sustain it, so that’s the message it sends to the stockholders. He says coming through the recession and recovering, with Winnebago outperforming the RV industry as a whole, gives the company the confidence to reinstate the dividend.
Data from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association shows motorhome shipments in the third quarter of 2014 reached the highest level since 2007.
(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)