Tho Airstream Beach

Thor's holdings include the iconic Airstream brand of luxury camp trailers. Image source: Thor Industries

Recreational-vehicle giant Thor Industries (NYSE:THO) reported earnings for the quarter ended October 31 after the bell on November 30. Here's what you need to know.

Thor Industries results: The raw numbers
Thor reported a net profit of $50.5 million, or $0.96 per share, up 29% from a year ago. Revenue was $1.03 billion, up 12% from the year-ago quarter. 

What happened with Thor Industries this quarter
Thor operates a number of different recreational-vehicle subsidiaries, but the businesses fall into two broad categories: "towable," or camper-trailers, and "motorized," or motorhomes. Generally speaking, motorized RVs are higher priced, but Thor's towable businesses include the high-end Airstream brand. 

  • Towable RV sales grew 8%, to $744.7 million. That year-over-year gain was driven, in part, by the inclusion of revenues from two companies that were acquired as of January 1. Pre-tax income was $63.2 million, up 28%.
  • Motorized RV sales grew 13%, to $251.1 million. Pre-tax income was $21.7 million, up 43%.
  • Gross profit margins increased to 14.8% from 12.8% a year ago, thanks to positive changes in profit mix, and some cost reductions.
  • Towable RV order backlog as of October 31 was $710 million, up 9% from a year ago. 
  • Motorized RV order backlog as of October 31 increased 33% from a year ago, to $341 million, thanks to a strong positive reception to new products introduced at an event for Thor's dealers in September.

What management had to say
"Continued focus upon execution of our strategic plan allowed Thor to achieve a record start to fiscal 2016, with sales and backlogs both exceeding $1 billion, improved margins and strong earnings growth for the quarter," said CEO Bob Martin in a statement. "We are optimistic about our prospects for continued growth in fiscal 2016 as we build on the momentum of our September Dealer Open House at our largest industry trade show in Louisville [in early December]."

Looking ahead
This quarter was the first of Thor's fiscal 2016. While the company showed very strong year-over-year growth, executive chairman Peter Orthwein cautioned that the next two quarters will present tougher year-over-year comparisons.

In other words, investors should expect more subdued year-over-year gains as the fiscal year unfolds. But despite the caution, Orthwein emphasized that the company stands by its expectation of growth in both sales and earnings for the full fiscal year.

John Rosevear has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Thor Industries. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.