Polaris rides high demand to quarter of gaudy results

  • Article by: DEE DEPASS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 18, 2012 - 10:20 PM

The company reported strong sales across its consumer product line, bringing a $94 million profit.

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Sales of Polaris off-road vehicles rose 18 percent to $573 million, with particularly strong North American sales.

Strong ATV, motorcycle and snowmobile sales drove Polaris Industries Inc. to another robust quarter, company officials said Thursday.

Retail demand for Polaris' all-terrain vehicles and Victory motorcycles soared in North America, while early demand for snowmobile sales surged in Russia and Scandinavia.

Sales for the third quarter bolted 21 percent during the quarter to $880 million. Profit jumped 39 percent to $94.3 million, or $1.33 a share, thanks in part to strong sales, factory cost controls and price increases. Analysts expected $1.20 a share in earnings and $830 million in revenue for the quarter.

It was a "really nice quarter, obviously," said Craig Kennison, an equity research analyst for Robert W. Baird. He and other analysts praised new product introductions and results that were not crushed by Europe's downturn. The strong third quarter follows a strong performance in the second quarter.

As a result, Polaris officials upgraded their full-year profit forecast Thursday to $4.32 to $4.37 a share from July's forecast of $4.05 to $4.15. And they said 2012 sales are now expected to grow 19 to 20 percent from 2011. Sales growth was previously pegged at 14 percent for the year.

Shareholders were pleased, boosting the stock for Medina-based Polaris. The shares closed Thursday at $88.35, up $3.07.

Polaris CEO Scott Wine said during a conference call with analysts that he remains wary of Europe's economic woes but continues to see pockets of growth there, especially with snowmobiles.

The company's success across all product lines is expected to continue, said Polaris President Bennett Morgan. "The power sports market is still growing and as we head into the fourth quarter we feel really good about our momentum."

All product lines experienced double-digit growth during the third quarter.

Sales of off-road vehicles, such as single seat, side-by-side and utility ATVs, rose 18 percent in the quarter to $573 million, with sales strongest in North America.

Snowmobile sales rose 21 percent during the third quarter to $114.9 million. Sales of motorcycles and on-road electric vehicles jumped 78 percent to $63.4 million, with sales strongest outside of North America. Sales of parts, garments and accessories rose 14 percent to $128.6 million during the quarter.

Wine added that military vehicle sales were slower than desired but added that new light-armor products and special flat-resistant tires should help sales in the coming months.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725

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