Terry Trexler, Nobility president, was candid about the state of affairs for Nobility:
"Second quarter sales and operations for fiscal 2007 were adversely affected by the reduced manufactured housing shipments in Florida plus the overall decline in Florida and the nation's housing market. Industry shipments in Florida for the Company's first six months of fiscal 2007 were down approximately 55% from the same period last year. Although the current overall housing market has declined significantly this year, the long-term demographic trends still favor strong growth in the Florida market area we serve."
Nobility has been manufacturing houses in Florida for 40 years and continues to focus on expanding its presence in the Sunshine State. With less than $100 million in annual sales, Nobility certainly has room to grow. Last year, Nobility announced that it had hired advisors to help maximize value for Nobility (a.k.a. fancy talk for a possible sale of the company). Today, along with the quarterly results, Nobility has decided to remain an independent public company.
I happen to like the long-term prospects for manufactured housing companies. For one, they actually make some elegant homes that, on a lot, are virtually indistinguishable from a site-built home. Second, manufactured housing allows many Americans who otherwise could not afford to buy a house to own their own home. While selling homes exclusively in Florida can be tough, as we're seeing now, Florida is usually a great place to be. The weather is wonderful, the ocean is nearby, and people are constantly moving there.
The manufactured housing industry is scattered with lots of niche competition like Cavco Industries
Although net income was down nearly 50%, net profit margin was 10%. Cavco's most recent numbers show net margins of less than 5%. Champion reported a net loss in its most recent earnings release. Nobility's balance sheet is strong relative to its peers as well. Inventories barely changed, and current assets cover current liabilities by more than six times. If this is how it is during one of Florida's worst moments yet, imagine how exciting things can get for Nobility when the sun shines again in the Sunshine State.
Fun in the sun with more Foolishness:
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