Harley: Third-Quarter Sales Up 5.4%

Harley-Davidson Financial Report

On Tuesday, Harley-Davidson reported continued strong improvement in earnings and dealer retail sales in the third quarter of 2011 and through nine months, compared to 2010.

Income from continuing operations in the third-quarter 2011 rose 95.9 percent to $183.6 million, or $0.78 per share, compared to income of $93.7 million, or $0.40 per share from continuing operations in the year-ago quarter.

Third-quarter operating income from Motorcycles and Related Products grew 78.0 percent on higher shipment volume and operating margin improvement, while operating income from Financial Services grew 21.9 percent on continued improvement in credit performance, compared to the third quarter of 2010.

Retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 5.1 percent worldwide in the third quarter compared to the prior-year period, led by a 5.4 percent rise in the U.S.

For the first nine months of 2011, Harley-Davidson income from continuing operations was up 63.5 percent compared to the year-ago period to $493.4 million, or $2.09 per share. Retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles through nine months grew 4.9 percent worldwide compared to the year-ago period.

Keith Wandell
(President & CEO, Harley-Davidson) says: "We are pleased with our sustained progress and we continue to realize strong momentum in the transformation our business."

"Two years ago we embarked on our strategy to focus solely on the Harley-Davidson brand, provide the flexibility required in today’s market and make Harley-Davidson lean, agile and more effective than ever at delivering remarkable products and extraordinary customer experiences.

"Today, we continue to see the positive results of the course we have charted. The changes underway in manufacturing, product development and retail capability will increasingly enable Harley-Davidson to be customer-led like never before.

"Harley-Davidson’s transformation involves a tremendous amount of highly complex, challenging work across every part of the organization. While much remains to be done, we are well down the road and everyone involved deserves much credit for bringing these changes to life.

"I continue to be impressed by the willingness of all employees, including the union leadership, to do the necessary things to transform our business to be a world class, sustainable operation."

Retail Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Sales

On a worldwide basis, third-quarter retail Harley-Davidson new motorcycle sales grew 5.1 percent compared to last year’s third quarter to 61,838 units. Dealers sold 42,640 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the U.S., a 5.4 percent increase compared to last year’s third quarter. In international markets, dealers sold 19,198 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the third quarter, an increase of 4.4 percent compared to the year-ago period.

Through nine months, worldwide retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 4.9 percent compared to the prior-year period to 194,829 units. U.S. retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 4.7 percent to 127,930 units through three quarters compared to the year-ago period. In international markets, retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 5.2 percent to 66,899 units for the first nine months of 2011 compared to 2010. Through nine months, industry-wide U.S. heavyweight new motorcycle (651cc-plus) retail unit sales increased 3.7 percent, compared to the year-ago period.

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and Related Products Segment Financial Results

Third-Quarter Segment Results: Revenue from Harley-Davidson Motorcycles during the third quarter of 2011 of $922.3 million was up 15.5 percent compared to the year-ago period. The Company shipped 61,745 Harley-Davidson motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide during the quarter, compared to shipments of 53,293 motorcycles in the third quarter of 2010.

Revenue from Motorcycle Parts and Accessories (P&A) totaled $235.7 million during the quarter, up 7.6 percent, and revenue from General Merchandise, which includes MotorClothes® Apparel and Accessories, was $69.3 million, up 8.2 percent compared to the year-ago period.

Gross margin was 33.7 percent in the third quarter of 2011, compared to 34.9 percent in the third quarter of 2010. Third-quarter operating margin was 14.7 percent, compared to 9.3 percent in the third quarter of 2010.

Nine-Month Segment Results: Through the first nine months of 2011, the Company shipped 182,387 Harley-Davidson motorcycles to dealers and distributors, a 9.9 percent increase compared to last year’s 166,013 units for the period.

Revenue from Harley-Davidson Motorcycles through nine months was $2.76 billion, a 13.2 percent increase compared to the year-ago period. Nine-month P&A revenue was $655.4 million, a 9.3 percent increase from the first nine months of 2010. General Merchandise revenue was $204.8 million, a 3.6 percent increase compared to the same period in 2010.

Gross margin through nine months was 34.0 percent and operating margin was 14.5 percent, compared to 35.5 percent and 11.8 percent respectively through nine months last year.

Financial Services Segment

The Financial Services segment recorded operating income of $62.0 million in the third quarter, compared to operating income of $50.9 million in the year-ago quarter. The increase in year-over-year operating income was largely the result of continued improvement in credit performance at Harley-Davidson Financial Services. Through nine months, operating income from financial services was $212.0 million, compared to operating income of $138.4 million in the first three quarters of 2010.

Guidance

Harley-Davidson continues to expect to ship 228,000 to 235,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2011, including 45,500 to 52,500 motorcycles in the fourth quarter.

For the full year, Harley-Davidson now expects gross margin to be between 33.5 percent and 34.5 percent, compared to previous guidance of 34.0 percent to 35.0 percent. The Company continues to expect capital expenditures of between $210 million and $230 million, which includes $70 million to $85 million to support restructuring activities.

Restructuring Update

Harley-Davidson has lowered cost estimates related to the restructuring of its production operations and now expects all previously announced company-wide restructuring activities to result in one-time charges of $480 million to $495 million, including 2011 charges of $70 million to $80 million. The Company continues to expect to realize savings on a cumulative basis in 2011 of $210 million to $230 million from restructuring activities initiated since early 2009, and annual ongoing savings of $305 million to $325 million when the restructuring is fully implemented. Through the first nine months of 2011, the Company incurred restructuring charges of $49.0 million, including $12.4 million in the third quarter. During the third quarter, Harley-Davidson completed the consolidation of final assembly operations at York, Pa. Final assembly of all Touring, Softail, Trike and Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) motorcycles now occurs on a single assembly line.

Income Tax Rate

Through nine months, the Company’s effective tax rate was 30.4 percent, compared to 34.0 percent in the year-ago period. The 2011 effective tax rate through the third quarter was favorably impacted by a settlement of an IRS audit, as well as a change in the Wisconsin income tax law associated with certain net operating losses. In 2011, the Company now expects its full-year effective tax rate from continuing operations to be approximately 31 percent.

Cash Flow

Cash and marketable securities totaled $1.61 billion at the end of the quarter, compared to $1.55 billion at the end of last year’s third quarter. During the first nine months of 2011, Harley-Davidson generated $901.6 million of cash from operating activities. In the first nine months of 2010, the Company generated $1.17 billion of cash from operating activities. Capital expenditures through the first nine months of 2011 were $106.1 million.

Share Repurchase

The Company repurchased 2.5 million shares of Harley-Davidson, Inc. common stock at a cost of $90.8 million during the third quarter of 2011. At the end of the third quarter, there were approximately 232 million shares of Harley-Davidson common stock outstanding and 22.4 million shares remaining on board-approved share repurchase authorizations.