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Strong ATV and motorcycle sales boosted Polaris Industries to a strong finish for the fourth quarter, but that wasn't enough to satisfy investors disappointed with a lower-than-expected earnings forecast for 2013.

, Polaris

Polaris outlook dismays investors

  • Article by: DEE DePASS
  • Star Tribune
  • January 29, 2013 - 9:18 PM

Strong ATV and motorcycle sales boosted Polaris Industries to a strong finish for the fourth quarter, but that wasn't enough to satisfy investors disappointed with a lower-than-expected earnings forecast for 2013.

For the quarter, earnings jumped 38 percent to $88.1 million or $1.24 a share. Sales surged 15 percent to $901 million.

While results beat analysts' sales and earnings expectations for this past quarter, investors focused more on the year ahead. The Medina-based company issued 2013 financial guidance saying it expected sales to grow 10 to 12 percent this year and earnings to grow 10 to 15 percent to $4.85 to $5.05 a share.

Consensus analysts' models predicted 2013 sales would grow 13 percent and that earnings would hit $5.18 a share.

Unhappy investors pushed shares down Tuesday by $5.31 a share to close at $86.62 a share.

CEO Scott Wine told analysts in a conference call that "We expect 2013 to be another year of profitable growth and margin expansion, although we remain wary of the fragility of the global economy, particularly in Europe, where we project our business will be down slightly.''

Wine also signaled "increasing competitive pressures, most notably in our core off-road vehicles business. We are prepared with countermeasures if economic conditions worsen," he said.

In the fourth quarter, Polaris increased sales of ATVs, motorcycles and electric vehicles and in its parts, garments and accessories division. Only snowmobile sales dipped during the quarter, falling to $155 million from $169 million a year ago. Analysts blamed the decline on relatively weak snowfalls for much of North America.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725

4th quarter FY2012, 12/31

2012 2011 % chg. Revenue $900.6 $782.0 +15.2 Income 88.1 63.9 +37.8 Earn/share 1.24 0.90 +37.8

12 months

Revenue $3,209.8 $2,656.9 +20.8 Income 312.3 227.6 +37.2 Earn/share* 4.40 3.20 +37.5

Figures in millions except for earnings per share.

* 2011 per share data has been adjusted to given effect to a 2-for-1 stock split declared on June 20, 2011 and paid on Sept. 12, 2011.

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