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Harley-Davidson posts profit; U.S. sales are flat

January 19, 2007|From the Associated Press

Harley-Davidson Inc. said that strong international sales of its motorcycles helped drive its fourth-quarter profit up 9.7% -- a touch above Wall Street expectations -- but also that U.S. sales were flat.

Chief Executive Jim Ziemer pledged to ramp up dealer rallies and safety classes to bring in new riders to shore up the domestic market.

Shares of Harley-Davidson fell $1.89, or 2.6%, to $70.95.

Net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 totaled $252.4 million, or 97 cents a share, compared with a profit of $230 million, or 84 cents, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 12% to $1.5 billion.

Analysts had expected a profit of 96 cents a share on revenue of $1.44 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

Worldwide retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 6.4% for the quarter. Shipments grew 6% to 92,848 units. Sales in the U.S. gained only 0.3%, but Harley estimated that the overall heavyweight motorcycle market was down 1.7% for the quarter. Overseas, sales of the bikes rose 29.4%.

In 2006, the Milwaukee-based company saw revenue climb 8.6% to $5.8 billion. Shipments were up 6.1% to 349,196.

Net income for the year increased 8.7% to $1.04 billion, or $3.93 a share, compared with a profit of $959.6 million, or $3.41, in 2005.

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