* Fiscal Q1 EPS beats expectations
* Dealer pricing power continues to improve
* Output and backlog grow
(Adds CEO comments, details on prices)
By James B. Kelleher
Dec 19 Winnebago Industries Inc, the No.
1 U.S. motor home maker, reported a 51 percent jump in quarterly
profit on Thursday as strong demand for its new line of
lower-priced recreational vehicles prompted dealers to increase
But the company's shares, which have more than doubled in
value over the past year, tumbled as much as 13 percent, pulled
down by softer-than-expected sales.
The Forest City, Iowa-based company, which announced just
last month it was opening a third plant to expand production of
one of its fastest-growing RV lines, said deliveries to dealers
reached a five-year high during the quarter and that its backlog
grew for the eighth consecutive quarter.
Winnebago, which normally suspends production for two weeks
in December, will keep its factories open for four extra days
this month, in part to fill a big purchase order from an RV
Randy Potts, the chairman, chief executive and president,
called the extra holiday season production days "a very, very
unusual occurrence" and a sign the RV market, which was walloped
during the recession, continued to recover.
Winnebago continued to introduce a number of lower-priced
RVs during the quarter. As a result, the average wholesale price
it charged dealers fell by 10 percent to just over $100,000.
But it said buyers were snapping up the value-priced
vehicles without requiring a lot of dealer discounting or
In the just-finished quarter, Winnebago delivered 2,005
motor homes to dealers, up 31 percent from the comparable period
last year. But deliveries of its campers and towables fell 13.1
Potts said Winnebago's troubles in the more affordable
towables segment reflected a failure to bring the right products
to market - not underlying weakness among less affluent
Net income rose to $11.1 million, or 40 cents per share, in
the first quarter ended Nov. 30, from $7.4 million, or 26 cents
per share, a year earlier.
Revenue was up 15 percent to $222.7 million.
Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 37 cents per
share on revenue of $233.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters
In mid-day trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Winnebago
shares were down 10.3 percent at $28.36. The stock has more than
doubled in the past 12 months, outperforming the 26 percent rise
in the S&P 500 index.
(Additional reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani; Editing by
Joyjeet Das and Jeffrey Benkoe)