Polaris shares jump 9.3% on record second quarter

  • Article by: DEE DEPASS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 22, 2014 - 8:12 PM

Medina-based manufacturer said full-year earnings should top 2013 by 20-22 percent.

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The Polaris White Lightning side-by-side ATV has room for four and sports a 107-horsepower engine.

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Strong sales of side-by-side ATVs, Indian motorcycles and high-margin parts and garments helped Polaris Industries trounce Wall Street expectations and post record second-­quarter results Tuesday.

Results were so strong that Medina-based Polaris, which manufactures all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, garments and electric vehicles, raised its earnings guidance for 2014 to $6.48 to $6.58 a share, which if achieved will be a 20 to 22 percent increase above 2013.

Polaris’ forecast bump contrasts with Harley Davidson, which Tuesday cut its shipment guidance for the year citing weather woes, delayed shipments and softer demand for select products.

On Tuesday Polaris’ stock rose $12.34, or 9.3 percent, to $145.52 a share.

During a conference call with Wall Street analysts, CEO and Chairman Scott Wine said the second quarter enjoyed a 15 percent surge in North American sales as consumers bought more of the company’s side-by-side ATVs, a new Sportsman ACE product, Indian motorcycles and its high-margin parts and garments. Polaris also benefited from strong international sales and a welcome pause in the negative Canadian currency translation problem that hamstrung several competitors.

Overall, earnings grew 21 percent to a record $96.9 million or $1.42 a share. Analysts had expected $1.39 per share.

Revenues shot up 20 percent to a record $1.014 billion during the quarter, due in part to improved sales in North America. On average, analysts had expected $1 billion.

“Nice quarter,” said Morningstar analyst Jaime Katz.

“Great quarter,” said James Hardiman with Longbow Research. “You saw some real nice acceleration in the second quarter. Gross margins ended up being much better than most of us thought.”

The positive results came after a year of heavy promotion of Polaris’ newly relaunched Indian motorcycles and just before Polaris introduces a new lineup of products. The new vehicles will premiere next week during the company’s 60th anniversary dealers’ show in Minneapolis. Its new line of 2015 motorcycles also will be showcased during next month’s massive motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D.

Polaris President Bennett Morgan told analysts that the company will introduce its new Slingshot 3-wheel vehicle next week. He called it the “worst-kept secret” in the industry.

Overall, company officials were pleased with the quarter. Wine noted that “between strong demand for our existing offerings and our industry-leading product innovation, we believe sales and earnings will continue to accelerate in the second half of the year.” Annual sales are now expected to grow 16 to 18 percent this year and to double to $8 billion by 2020, he said.

New factories in Poland and India are under construction. The nearly finished ­Polish facility will begin ATV production early next year, which will help cut about $20 million a year in European distribution costs, officials said.

For the second quarter, sales of off-road vehicles — which include ATVs and a type of ATV known as a “side-by-side” — rose 13 percent to $701.4 million.

At the same time, however, snowmobile sales dropped 27 percent to $6.1 million. Officials said they expect some pressure for snowmobiles during the second half of the year as the negative Canadian currency translation problem is expected to return and squeeze profits. Most snowmobiles are shipped and sold during the last half of the year.

Total motorcycles sales for the quarter jumped 107 percent to $103 million. However, that growth was due to Indian motorcycle sales. Sales of Polaris’s Victory bikes were hurt by a recall in May that affected roughly 800 bikes.

Small and electric vehicle sales, which occur mostly in Europe, rose 29 percent to $43 million. Morgan noted that small vehicle sales exceeded expectations. Parts and garments, which is Polaris’ highest-margin business, rose 20 percent to $169 million.

 

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