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Fleetwood Enterprises Trims Losses as Sales of RVs Rise

March 05, 2004|From Bloomberg News

Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. said Thursday that the loss in the latest fiscal quarter narrowed to $10.2 million amid rising sales of recreational vehicles.

The net loss for its third quarter ended Jan. 25 shrank to 26 cents a share from $18.4 million, or 51 cents, a year earlier, the company said. Revenue climbed 21% to $597.8 million from $493.2 million.

Riverside-based Fleetwood, which has had three straight annual losses, is recovering as shipments of motor homes pick up and buyers of mobile homes have more access to loans.

Recreational vehicle shipments rose 6.3% in January, the Reston, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Industry Assn. reported. Fleetwood's revenue from recreational vehicles, which accounted for 69% of revenue in the latest quarter, increased 32% to $410 million.

The company expects to be "marginally profitable in the [fiscal] fourth quarter," said Chief Executive Edward Caudill.

Fleetwood shares rose 86 cents to $14.30 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company also forecast Thursday that it would make money on recreational vehicles and manufactured housing in the fiscal year ending in April, while incurring a loss at the retail unit that sells housing to the public. The company is "uncertain" whether it will be profitable overall for the fiscal year.

Industry shipments of manufactured housing were the lowest in 2003 since 1962, as sales declined after the 2002 bankruptcy of lenders Conseco Finance Serving Corp. and Oakwood Homes depressed sales of new units by forcing more repossessed ones onto the market, Fleetwood said in the filing.

Fannie Mae, the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages, said last month that it was joining with nine lenders to provide buyers of manufactured, or mobile, homes access to 30-year mortgages with down payments as low as 5%. Other lenders are starting to increase loans to buyers, the company said in the filing.

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