Harley-Davidson reports 2009 results

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) reported full-year 2009 revenue of $4.29 billion and income of $70.6 million, or $0.30 per share, from continuing operations. In the fourth quarter, the Company reported revenue of $764.5 million and a loss of $147.2 million, or $0.63 per share, from continuing operations. Affecting fourth-quarter results were a previously announced 53.1 percent reduction in Harley-Davidson® motorcycle shipments from the year-ago period and $167.1 million in restructuring and Buell® product line exit costs.

Including MV Agusta discontinued operations, the Company reported a full-year net loss of $55.1 million, or $0.24 per share, and a fourth-quarter net loss of $218.7 million, or $0.94 per share.

"Our full-year 2009 results were affected by the difficult economy, as well as the planned actions we took that resulted in restructuring charges of $224 million. We believe these actions are critical to restoring greater profitability and long-term growth to Harley-Davidson," said Keith Wandell, Harley-Davidson, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are confident we have made the right decisions for our future, and we are executing our strategy with focused intensity."

Full-Year and Fourth-Quarter Results

For the full-year from continuing operations: revenue was $4.29 billion in 2009 compared to $5.58 billion in 2008, a 23.1 percent decrease; income was $70.6 million in 2009 compared to $684.2 million in 2008, a decrease of 89.7 percent; and earnings per share decreased 89.7 percent to $0.30 in 2009, compared to $2.92 in 2008. Full-year results from continuing operations primarily reflect the effects of lower motorcycle shipments, restructuring and Buell product line exit costs, and non-cash charges related to Harley-Davidson Financial Services.

In the fourth-quarter of 2009, the Company reported revenue of $764.5 million compared to $1.28 billion in the year-ago quarter, a 40.2 percent decrease, and a loss of $147.2 million, or $0.63 per share, compared to income of $91.9 million, or $0.40 per share in 2008, from continuing operations.

2010 Guidance

For 2010, the Company expects to ship 201,000 to 212,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide, a reduction of five to ten percent from 2009. "We believe 2010 will continue to be a challenging year," Wandell noted. In the first quarter of 2010, Harley-Davidson expects to ship 52,000 to 57,000 motorcycles. Gross margin is expected to be between 32.0 percent and 33.5 percent for the full year. The Company expects full-year capital expenditures of between $235 million and $255 million, including $95 million to $110 million to support restructuring activities.

"Delivering Results Through Focus" Strategy

During the fourth quarter, the Company moved forward with the execution of its business strategy, unveiled in October 2009, to deliver results by focusing on Harley-Davidson products and experiences, global expansion, demographic outreach and commitment to core customers. Additionally, the Company will continue to expand its initiative to enhance profitability through continuous improvement in manufacturing, product development and business operations.

"Focusing our investment behind the uniquely strong Harley-Davidson brand provides the most attractive path to sustained, long-term growth," Wandell said. "We also expect to achieve substantial gains in the efficiency of our operations through continuous improvement."

Motorcycles and Related Products Segment

Fourth Quarter. Revenue from Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the fourth quarter of 2009 was $552.0 million, down 45.6 percent compared to the year-ago period. The Company shipped 35,938 Harley-Davidson motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide, down 53.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008 but in line with previous guidance of 35,000 to 40,000 units. Revenue from Parts and Accessories totaled $144.6 million during the quarter, down 4.9 percent, and revenue from General Merchandise, which includes MotorClothes® apparel, was $66.8 million during the quarter, down 3.2 percent compared to the year-ago period.

Gross margin percent was down during the quarter from the year-ago period, primarily as a result of fixed costs being spread over fewer units and the impact of exiting the Buell product line. Operating loss was $221.8 million compared to an operating income of $162.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Operating margin was negatively affected by lower gross margin and restructuring charges incurred during the quarter.

Full-Year. For the full year 2009, revenue from Harley-Davidson motorcycles was $3.17 billion compared to $4.24 billion in 2008 on shipments of 223,023 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, compared to 303,479 motorcycles in 2008. Revenue from Parts and Accessories totaled $767.3 million in 2009, down 10.7 percent, and revenue from General Merchandise was $282.2 million, down 10.1 percent compared to 2008.

Full-year 2009 gross margin was 32.3 percent compared to 34.6 percent in 2008, and operating margin was 7.3 percent compared to 17.5 percent in 2008.

Retail Motorcycle Sales. During the fourth quarter, retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 21.4 percent worldwide, 27.9 percent in the U.S. and 10.3 percent in international markets, compared to the prior-year quarter. Industry-wide U.S. retail heavyweight (651cc+) motorcycle sales declined 20.9 percent during the quarter, compared to the year-ago period.

For the full year 2009 compared to 2008, retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 22.7 percent worldwide, 25.8 percent in the U.S. and 15.4 percent in international markets. Industry-wide U.S. retail heavyweight motorcycle sales declined 36.7 percent in 2009, compared to 2008.

Financial Services Segment

Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) recorded an operating loss of $7.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to an operating loss of $24.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Key drivers of reduced operating loss versus the year-ago quarter include a decrease in impairments on retained securitization interests and a decrease in fair value writedowns on held-for-sale receivables, partially offset by an increase in the provision for retail loan losses.

For the full year 2009, HDFS reported an operating loss of $118.0 million, compared to operating income of $82.8 million in 2008.

HDFS continued to access the capital markets during the quarter, raising $1.76 billion through the unsecured debt and term asset-backed securitization markets. Through its 2009 funding actions, HDFS expects to meet its 2010 anticipated funding requirements.


The Company now expects previously announced restructuring activities that began in 2009 to result in total one-time charges of $430 million to $460 million into 2012, including charges of $175 million to $195 million in 2010. The Company continues to anticipate annual ongoing total savings from restructuring of approximately $240 million to $260 million upon completion of all announced restructuring activities, including savings of approximately $135 million to $155 million anticipated in 2010.

In December, Harley-Davidson announced that, as a result of the ratification of a new seven-year labor agreement at its York, Pa. motorcycle production operations, the Company is restructuring those facilities to focus on the core operations of motorcycle assembly, metal fabrication and paint. "When the restructuring is completed, we will have completely changed the face of how we build motorcycles in York and we expect significantly greater manufacturing flexibility and significant annual cost savings from a more efficient operation. It is a tribute to our employees at York that they understood we could not continue on the course we were on, and they worked with us to find a better way," said Wandell.

During the fourth quarter, the Company made the decision to consolidate its vehicle test facilities from three locations, in Alabama, Arizona and Florida, into one location in Arizona.

Income Tax Rate

The Company’s full-year effective tax rate from continuing operations was 60.5 percent compared to 35.8 percent from the prior year. The increase was due primarily to the previously reported one-time charge for the Wisconsin tax law change and the non-deductible goodwill write-off for Harley-Davidson Financial Services, as well as the impact of reduced earnings. In 2010, the Company expects its full-year effective tax rate to be approximately 36.5 percent from continuing operations.

Cash Flow

Cash and marketable securities totaled $1.67 billion as of Dec. 31, 2009, compared to $568.9 million at year end 2008. Cash provided by operating activities for continuing operations was $609.0 million and capital expenditures were $116.7 million in 2009. In the fourth quarter, Harley-Davidson Motor Company made a $215 million contribution to fund Company pension plans.

Discontinued Operations

The Company continues to move forward with the sale of MV Agusta and is in the process of identifying potential buyers, following Harley-Davidson’s decision in the fourth quarter of 2009 to divest the subsidiary. MV Agusta is now presented as a discontinued operation for all periods. For the full year of 2009, Harley-Davidson, Inc. incurred a $125.8 million loss from discontinued operations, or a loss of $0.54 per share, comprised of operating losses as well as a fair value adjustment.

Company Background

Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the parent company for the group of companies doing business as Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC), Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS), Buell Motorcycle Company (Buell), and MV Agusta.

Forward-Looking Statements

The Company intends that certain matters discussed in this release are "forward-looking statements" intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can generally be identified as such because the context of the statement will include words such as the Company "believes," "anticipates," "expects," "plans," or "estimates" or words of similar meaning. Similarly, statements that describe future plans, objectives, outlooks, targets, guidance or goals are also forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated as of the date of this release. Certain of such risks and uncertainties are described below. Shareholders, potential investors, and other readers are urged to consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements and cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements included in this release are only made as of the date of this release, and the Company disclaims any obligation to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

The Company’s ability to meet the targets and expectations noted depends upon, among other factors, the Company’s ability to (i) execute its strategy and successfully exit certain product lines and divest certain company assets, (ii) effectively execute the Company’s restructuring plans within expected costs and timing, (iii) successfully achieve with our labor unions flexible and cost-effective agreements to accomplish restructuring goals and long-term competitiveness, (iv) manage the risks that our independent dealers may have difficulty obtaining capital, and adjusting to the recession and slowdown in consumer demand, (v) manage supply chain issues, (vi) anticipate the level of consumer confidence in the economy, (vii) continue to have access to reliable sources of capital funding and adjust to fluctuations in the cost of capital, (viii) manage the credit quality, the loan servicing and collection activities, and the recovery rates of HDFS’ loan portfolio, (ix) continue to realize production efficiencies at its production facilities and manage operating costs including materials, labor and overhead, (x) manage production capacity and production changes, (xi) provide products, services and experiences that are successful in the marketplace, (xii) develop and implement sales and marketing plans that retain existing retail customers and attract new retail customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace, (xiii) sell all of its motorcycles and related products and services to its independent dealers, (xiv) continue to develop the capabilities of its distributor and dealer network, (xv) manage changes and prepare for requirements in legislative and regulatory environments for its products, services and operations, (xvi) adjust to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, interest rates and commodity prices, (xvii) adjust to healthcare inflation, pension reform and tax changes, (xviii) retain and attract talented employees, (xix) detect any issues with our motorcycles or manufacturing processes to avoid delays in new model launches, recall campaigns, increased warranty costs or litigation, and (xx) implement and manage enterprise-wide information technology solutions and secure data contained in those systems.

In addition, the Company could experience delays or disruptions in its operations as a result of work stoppages, strikes, natural causes, terrorism or other factors. Other factors are described in risk factors that the Company has disclosed in documents previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Many of these risk factors are impacted by the current turbulent capital, credit and retail markets and our ability to adjust to the recession.

The Company’s ability to sell its motorcycles and related products and services and to meet its financial expectations also depends on the ability of the Company’s independent dealers to sell its motorcycles and related products and services to retail customers. The Company depends on the capability and financial capacity of its independent dealers and distributors to develop and implement effective retail sales plans to create demand for the motorcycles and related products and services they purchase from the Company. In addition, the Company’s independent dealers and distributors may experience difficulties in operating their businesses and selling Harley-Davidson motorcycles and related products and services as a result of weather, economic conditions or other factors.

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