What happened

Shares of Winnebago Industries (NYSE:WGO) were climbing today after the RV maker delivered a better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings report. Revenue fell slightly in the quarter, but the company still topped estimates on the top and bottom lines. As of 2:42 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, the stock was up 10.5%.

So what 

Revenue at Winnebago slipped 1.1% to $530.4 million as the ongoing decline in motor home sales was more than enough to offset growth in the larger towables segment, which has been the company's growth driver for the last few years. That figure beat analyst estimates at $520.6 million. 

A row of Winnebagos against a mountain background.

Image source: Winnebago.

Gross margin was essentially flat, rising 10 basis points to 15.7% due to the mix shift toward towables, but operating income fell 2% to $44.8 million. However, adjusted earnings per share benefited from a lower tax rate, increasing from $0.94 to $1.03, topping the consensus at $1.

CEO Michael Happe summed up the performance and the fiscal year: "In fiscal year 2019, our team made significant strides in profitably strengthening our core recreational vehicles business, while also executing a successful first full year in the marine industry. In the face of challenging RV market conditions, we drove increased share in our towables segment and continued to stabilize our motor home platform with improved products and dealer relationships."

Now what 

Winnebago doesn't provide guidance in its earnings reports, but the company did say that its backlog had fallen 4% from a year ago. It also continues to expand its reach with new acquisitions. Following its earlier purchase of high-end recreational boat maker Chris-Craft, Winnebago acquired Newmar, a maker of luxury RVs, in September for $344 million, giving it yet another growth avenue. 

With today's gains, shares have nearly doubled so far this year, following a sharp decline at the end of last year with the broader market sell-off. Winnebago is a cyclical company with flat revenue and a declining backlog. Considering that, now may be a good time to sell on the high.


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