Polaris raises 2013 outlook despite U.S. payroll tax jitters

CHICAGO, April 23 Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:56am EDT

CHICAGO, April 23 (Reuters) - Polaris Industries Inc , a U.S. maker of motorcycles and all-season, all-terrain vehicles, raised its full-year revenue and profit outlooks on Tuesday, citing a long winter that boosted snowmobile sales.

The move came as the Medina, Minnesota-based company reported a first-quarter profit of $75.5 million, or $1.07 a diluted share, up from $60.1 million, or 85 cents a diluted share, last year.

Sales rose 11 percent to $745.9 million, led by a 217 percent jump in snowmobile sales, which were depressed last year due to an unseasonable warm winter and spring in much of the United States.

The company now expects to post full-year 2013 earnings of $5.05 to $5.20 per diluted share, up from its previous forecast of $4.85 to $5.05.

Analysts, on average, expected full-year EPS of $5.15, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Polaris said it has seen "a degree of timidity in some customer segments that corresponded with the payroll tax increases that took effect at the start of the year."

It referred to consumers who faced an increase in the U.S. tax that finances the Social Security system affecting three-quarters of all households.

Polaris said it remained "cautious of the economic risks in both North America and Europe" but believes sales of new products, including its Indian-brand motorcycles and Axiam Mega quadricyles, would fuel sales growth in the second half and allow it to meet its raised forecast.

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