Times are still good for Wisconsin specialty truck maker Oshkosh Truck
Sales in the company's second quarter climbed nearly 30% to more than $672 million. Careful expense management has improved the gross margin, and this, coupled with a favorable defense contract revision, has led to an improved operating margin. On the bottom line, net income improved by nearly 70% versus the year-ago period.
Pardon the pun, but the fire and emergency business was on fire in the first quarter. Sales were up more than 57%, and operating income grew nearly 70%. Relatively recent acquisitions such as JerrDan and BAI contributed to the quarter, and municipal demand has stayed robust.
In the company's defense business, sales were up almost 25%, and operating income more than doubled. The company's results here were helped by a cumulative adjustment on the company's Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement contract that contributed $14.1 million in operating income. While the company is still awaiting further funding bills to pass through Congress, the higher-margin parts and services side of the business is picking up nicely.
Lastly, the commercial business did OK for the quarter. Sales were up about 17%, but insufficient price increases and losses in the European refuse business pushed operating income down nearly 32%.
Oshkosh management also made some shareholder-friendly moves that merit discussion. First, the company has decided to do away with the two-tiered share structure that separated voting rights. Effective immediately, there will be but one class of stock, and all shareholders will have equal voting rights.
Secondly, operating cash flow improved significantly in the second quarter, and management elected to pass some of that along. The board of directors declared a dividend that was about 50% higher than the preceding quarter. While not looking a gift horse in the mouth, it would appear that Oshkosh has room to increase that dividend even more, though I suspect that management would rather conserve its cash for possible acquisitions down the road.
As well as Oshkosh is doing from an operational perspective, I'm not all that enamored of the stock right now. While the backlog looks good and margins are on the way up, I'm not too keen about paying more than 21 times trailing earnings for a company that will likely be hard-pressed to grow above a mid-teens rate over the next three to five years. So while I might like the stock more on a dip, I'm not going to chase this ambulance maker.
For more on big trucks and good stocks, check out these prior Foolish takes:
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).