The Forest City-based outdoor lifestyle product manufacturer reports fiscal 2018 revenue rose 30% compared to last year, while fourth-quarter revenue reached $536 million, an increase of almost 18% over last year. CEO Michael Happe says a lot of the company’s recent success can be credited to the accelerated growth of towable unit sales.
“In the towables business, our growth continues to outpace that of the industry as the unique appeal of our Winnebago-branded and Grand Design RV products enables us to reach a broader customer base,” Happe says. “For the full year, revenues increased 26.2% over fiscal year 2017.”
Happe says the company’s acquisition of luxury boat manufacturer Chris-Craft during the quarter will help transform Winnebago into a premier outdoor lifestyle company. “We are very pleased thus far with our progress bringing Chris-Craft into the Winnebago Industries family and introducing the rest of our team to the marine market,” Happe says. “As we move forward, we are excited about implementing our growth plan for the business facing the customer, which includes driving new product development and organic growth through line extensions, improving manufacturing efficiencies, expanding our reach by improving the quality and quantity of dealer channel, and supporting Chris-Craft’s growth with even stronger brand and market development efforts.”
Despite increasing scrutiny on the health of the recreational vehicle industry, Happe says Winnebago is in a good position for the future. “From a long-term perspective, we remain convinced that the growth and penetration prospects of the recreational vehicle and marine segments in North America remain very positive,” he says.
Happe says the company’s profit and loss numbers absorbed a gross impact of eight figures in fiscal year 2018 that is related to direct tariffs and to domestic pressures related to those tariffs. “We are looking at eight figures that have hit our business in the past, will hit our business in the future, and really we then have to go to work and mitigate those costs in the best way we can,” he says. “It doesn’t always have to be related to that component specifically. It could be efficiency or cost reduction in other areas of the business.”
Fourth quarter net income was $29.8 million, an increase of almost 20% compared to the same period a year ago, while net income for the year was $102.4 million, an increase of 43.5% compared to fiscal 2017.
(By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)