If you're the type of person who just can't wait to get on the road again, you might want to check out Featherlite
What was it that investors liked? Big-time profit growth. Featherlite's net income jumped to $4.9 million, up from $705,000 a year ago, as sales rose more than 20% to $216 million. (That net profit figure includes an $829,000 tax credit, but the year-over-year growth would have been impressive even without it.) The company's success on the bottom line can be attributed in part to better selling prices, but also to improved manufacturing efficiency.
Generally speaking, Featherlite operates in two main businesses, and both bring their own challenges. It makes aluminum specialty trailers, used for lots of hauling jobs (but not commercial freight hauling). Aluminum trailers are more expensive than traditional steel ones, and they make up a relatively small portion of the market, but they offer some tangible benefits in terms of quality. Spreading the aluminum gospel is key to Featherlite's growth.
Its motor coaches, meanwhile, are converted from buses and can be heavily customized. They're those massive, amazing things that people like John Madden use. In many cases, they're like hotel rooms on wheels.
The company sells a lot more trailers than coaches, and that's probably a relief, since the trailers are easier to produce. But the high-end coaches resonate on the income statement: Each one can run more than a million bucks.
What this all means is that the company's sales and marketing operations -- and, presumably, its product -- appear to be doing a great job helping to boost market share. That's no small feat, as the specialty-trailer business is large and fragmented, while the motor-coach sector includes well-known competitors like Winnebago
Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story.