Roaring ATV and motorcycle sales catapulted Polaris Industries Inc. through the last quarter of the year and set the stage for continued growth this year, officials said Tuesday.
Overall sales grew 18 percent during the last three months of 2014. Determined not to shut off the engine, officials said they expect sales to race another 9 to 12 percent in 2015.
CEO Scott Wine said a host of new products, beefed up staffing and a blend of strategic acquisitions and expansions fueled the results and outlook for this year. They helped "create and meet the increasing demand for our products," he said.
The Medina-based manufacturer earned $135.4 million, or $1.98 a share, beating analysts' expectations of $1.94 a share for the quarter. Sales rose 18 percent to $1.28 billion, also ahead of analysts' forecasts of $1.25 billion.
Performance for the quarter was largely shaped by a 19 percent sales jump to $781 million for its all-terrain vehicles, Polaris' largest business.
Parts, garments and accessories sales rose 21 percent to $210 million. Meanwhile, motorcycle sales surged 50 percent to $103 million during the quarter after heavy investments and marketing in the Indian and Victory brands. Motorcycles are now Polaris' third-largest business, with annual sales of $349 million.
While motorcycle sales soared, snowmobile sales rose just 2 percent during the quarter to $138 million. Snowmobiles have slipped to become Polaris' second smallest product line, behind small and electric vehicles.
Shares in Polaris rose 5.4 percent to close at $149.13 a share Tuesday. That defied a broad market sell-off in which major stock indexes fell more than 1.3 percent.
Executives said they expect slower growth this year than in 2014, when the company launched more than 20 ATVs, nine new snowmobiles, two Indian motorcycle models and a three-wheeled motorcycle called the Slingshot.
With the new products, officials forecast sales and profit growth of 9 to 12 percent for 2015.
In 2014, full year sales and earnings both grew 19 percent. Sales reached a record $4.48 billion, while earnings from continuing operations were $454 million, or $6.65 per share. Both results exceeded analysts' expectations of $4.46 billion for sales and $6.62 for earnings per share.
Wine said that the company will face some challenges next year, including foreign currency volatility that can make U.S. exports more expensive. He noted that Europe's economy continues to struggle but said the company's growth areas should overcome any hardships.
Polaris recently added 1,800 workers, started plans for a $142 million factory in Alabama, opened a new plant in Poland and bought the previously unowned portion of the electric motorcycle firm Brammo. Polaris also purchased the Pro Armor brand of ATV accessories.