It's hard to find something positive to say for a company that continues to roll downhill, but I'll try to find a silver lining in Fleetwood Enterprise's
Fiscal 2007 wasn't kind to Fleetwood as consumers purchased fewer motor homes, manufactured homes, and travel and folding trailers than in the previous year. And the company lost a trailer load as it had to "reduce manufacturing capacity by closing five smaller or underperforming travel trailer plants." Only the motor home group posted an operating income improvement, even though sales fell a couple of percent.
Add it all up and Fleetwood reported a total sales decrease of 17% while the bottom-line loss nearly tripled to $1.41 per share. For Fools keeping close tabs on the company, this should come as no surprise. As for that silver lining, the best management could muster was to state that "operating results (before interest and taxes) for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 should be close to the breakeven level."
Beyond that, Fleetwood probably has little clue when industry conditions might improve. That's because the manufactured-home industry has been caught in a quagmire for close to a decade now, which has also afflicted peers such as Champion Enterprises
I still think the RV segment will be the one to pull the company through to profitability as retiring baby boomers increasingly hit the open road, but high fuel costs and rising interest rates continue to postpone any improvements at Fleetwood, Winnebago Industries
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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.