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Harley-Davidson Sales Outlook Drives Shares Up 6.2%

Wednesday, 25 April 2012 04:47 PM

Harley-Davidson Inc., the biggest U.S. motorcycle maker, jumped to its highest price since September 2007 after the company increased its full-year production forecast.

Harley, as part of its first-quarter earnings statement, said it expects to ship 245,000 to 250,000 motorcycles this year, up from a January forecast of as many as 245,000, based on demand from its “outreach” customers, which include people under the age of 34, as well as women, Hispanics and blacks. Harley rose 6.2 percent to $53.49 at the close in New York.

Bikes such as the $7,999 Super Low and the Forty-Eight, starting at $10,499, are winning new riders. Such customers made up more than one-third of U.S. sales in the quarter, the Milwaukee-based company said today, as marketing efforts bore fruit.

“There were barriers that were keeping our outreach groups from going to the dealership and riding a bike,” Chief Executive Officer Keith Wandell said in an interview. “We understand what those barriers are and we’re breaking them down.”

First-quarter net income was $172 million, or 74 cents a share, compared with $119.3 million, or 51 cents, a year earlier, Harley said today in the statement. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a profit of 71 cents a share. Harley shipped 64,263 motorcycles in the quarter, a 19 percent increase from 2011.

Sales, excluding financial services revenue, increased 20 percent to $1.27 billion. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for $1.22 billion in sales.

Harley, which also makes Fat Boy and V-Rod motorcycles, has cut expenses by renegotiating labor contracts at factories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. First-quarter gross margin widened to 35.9 percent from 33.1 percent a year ago.

Harley doesn’t expect production shutdowns because of a shortage of a resin used in fuel and brake parts, Wandell said in the interview.

Dana Holding Corp., a maker of driveshafts for cars and trucks, reported a profit of $70 million, or 33 cents a share, from a loss of $30 million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding some items, profit was 44 cents a share. The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg survey was for a profit of 41 cents.

Sales for Maumee, Ohio-based Dana gained 9.8 percent to $1.98 billion, topping the $1.93 billion average estimate of nine analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The shares rose 9.4 percent, to $15.21, the biggest gain since Aug. 11.

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012 04:47 PM
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