Heightened demand and improved margins resulted in significant first-quarter gains for Winnebago Industries Inc., including a 46.8% increase in sales.
Revenues for the 14-week first quarter ended Dec. 1 were $193.6 million, an increase of 46.8% versus $131.8 million for the 13-week first quarter of fiscal 2012. Included within consolidated revenues was $12.1 million associated with towable products, compared to $10.1 million a year ago. The Forest City, Iowa-based company reported an operating income of $9.9 million for the quarter versus $627,000 for the first quarter of fiscal 2012.
Net income for the first quarter owas $7.4 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, compared to $1.0 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, the previous year.
The first quarter was positively impacted by an additional week of operating performance s well as higher weekly production rates due to robust demand which resulted in increased motorhome deliveries and improved gross margins due to better overhead cost absorption.
“Winnebago Industries’ results for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 were outstanding,” said Winnebago Chairman, CEO and President Randy Potts. “Calendar year-to-date through October, we are growing at the wholesale and retail level at a faster rate than the overall industry due to the popularity of our products and the strength of our dealer network.
“We received very positive reception to our products at the recent National RV Show, which was held November 27-29 in Louisville, Ky. There was particular excitement for our newly introduced Winnebago Minnie Winnie and Itasca Spirit motorhomes that provide an economical entry into our Class C lineup, as well as the new Winnebago ultra-light towable entry introduced at the show.”
During the first quarter, Winnebago repurchased approximately 594,000 shares of the company’s common stock for $7.2 million, with calendar year-to-date cumulative repurchases of 1.2 million shares at an average price of $11.34 per share. “Given our improved financial performance and positive outlook, we felt the additional shares repurchased in our first quarter continued to enhance shareholder value,” said Winnebago Vice President, Chief Financial Officer Sarah Nielsen. “Through these efforts, we have reduced the total outstanding shares by nearly 4% this calendar year.”
Potts continued, “We are extremely pleased with the growing demand for our products, as evidenced in our sales order backlog, particularly as this is traditionally a seasonally slower time of year for our business. In light of such a strong order position, we are currently in a much better business environment and as a result, less sales incentives are necessary. We have continued to increase our production schedule and have hired additional employees to meet this improved demand during the last two fiscal quarters.
“Although we are ramping up production, we do face various constraints in the near-term that will impact our ability to immediately deliver product such as fewer production days due to the holidays, Class A gas chassis availability and the timing of production start for select new products. These are certainly better business challenges to face in a much improved market for our products than the difficult environment we endured for the past few years.”