2008-04-17 10:21
Company Reduces Full Year Shipments and Revises Guidance

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) today announced its results for the first quarter ended March 30, 2008. Revenue for the quarter was $1.31 billion compared to $1.18 billion in the year-ago quarter, a 10.8 percent increase. Net income for the quarter was $187.6 million compared to $192.3 million, a decrease of 2.5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2007. First quarter diluted earnings per share (EPS) were $0.79, a 6.8 percent increase compared to last year's $0.74.

"With growing weakness in the economy, U.S. retail sales of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles were down 12.8 percent in the first quarter. Although these retail results are disappointing, Harley-Davidson's U.S. dealers outperformed the heavyweight motorcycle industry, which was down 14.0 percent," said Jim Ziemer, Chief Executive Officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc.

"We've said on a number of occasions that we would closely monitor the retail environment and regularly assess our wholesale shipment plans, and we remain committed to shipping fewer Harley-Davidson motorcycles to our worldwide dealer network than we expect they will sell this year. In view of U.S. retail trends and uncertainty about the future of the economy, we now plan to ship 23,000 to 27,000 fewer Harley-Davidson motorcycles in 2008 than we shipped in 2007, resulting in total planned 2008 shipments between 303,500 and 307,500 units," Ziemer said.

"We will achieve the shipment reduction through temporary plant shutdowns and adjustments to daily production rates. This will result in a decrease of about 370 unionized employees over the next several months. Our management group and union leaders will work together to implement this reduction."

"The Company will also be reducing the non-production workforce by about 360 jobs. We believe these actions will better position the Company for a business environment that we expect to continue to be challenging," Ziemer said.

"Harley-Davidson is fortunate to be dealing with the current economic environment from a position of financial strength. We are a great company with an exceptionally powerful brand. We are optimistic about our long term business prospects and we will continue to invest in marketing, product development and our international business to drive future growth."

"For 2008, the Company now expects earnings per share to decrease between 15 and 20 percent compared to 2007 resulting in expected earnings per share of $3.00 to $3.18," said Ziemer. This supersedes all previous guidance on earnings per share and other measures.

The Company expects to ship between 76,000 and 80,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the second quarter of 2008.

Motorcycles and Related Products Segment - First Quarter Results

Revenue from Harley-Davidson motorcycles was $1.02 billion, an increase of $125.7 million or 14.1 percent versus the same period last year. Shipments of Harley-Davidson motorcycles totaled 71,868 units, an increase of 4,107 units or 6.1 percent compared to last year's first quarter. Shipments in the first quarter of 2007 were affected by a strike at Harley-Davidson's production plants in York, Pa., that resulted in approximately four weeks of lost production at the facilities.

Revenue from Parts and Accessories (P&A), which consists of Genuine Motor Parts and Genuine Motor Accessories, totaled $181.9 million, a decrease of $6.3 million or 3.3 percent versus the year-ago quarter. Revenue from General Merchandise, which consists of MotorClothesâ apparel and collectibles, totaled $84.0 million, an increase of $7.9 million or 10.4 percent over the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin for the first quarter of 2008 was 36.4 percent of revenue compared to 35.9 percent for the first quarter last year. Operating margin remained unchanged at 20.0 percent in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the prior year.

Motorcycle Retail Sales Data

During the first quarter, worldwide retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 5.6 percent compared to the prior year quarter. In the U.S., retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 12.8 percent for the quarter while the heavyweight motorcycle industry in the U.S. decreased 14.0 percent.

Retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 16.8 percent in international markets during the first quarter of 2008 compared to the first quarter of 2007. First quarter retail sales increased 31.1 percent in Canada; the Europe Region was up 7.8 percent; the Asia Pacific Region was up 19.5 percent; and the Latin America Region was up 53.3 percent.

Financial Services Segment

Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) reported first quarter operating income of $34.9 million, a decrease of $24.0 million or 40.8 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. The decrease is primarily due to a reduction in income from securitization.

Income Tax Rate

The Company's first quarter effective income tax rate was 36.0 percent compared to 35.5 percent in the same quarter last year. This increase was due to the expiration of the federal research and development tax credit as of December 31, 2007. Assuming the retroactive reinstatement of this tax credit, the Company expects its full year effective tax rate in 2008 will be 35.5 percent.

Cash Flow

Cash and marketable securities totaled $333.2 million as of March 30, 2008. Cash flow from operations was $146.8 million and capital expenditures were $43.2 million during the first quarter of 2008. For the full year of 2008, capital expenditures are now expected to be between $235 million and $250 million.

Stock Repurchase

The Company repurchased 2.6 million shares of its common stock at a cost of $100.1 million during the first quarter of 2008. On March 30, 2008, the Company had 236.5 million shares of common stock outstanding.

As of March 30, 2008, there were 20.5 million shares remaining on two board-approved share repurchase authorizations. An additional board-approved share repurchase authorization is in place to offset option exercises.

Company Background

Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the parent company for the group of companies doing business as Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC), Buell Motorcycle Company (Buell) and Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS). Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight motorcycles and offers a line of motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise and related services. HDMC manufactures five families of motorcycles: Touring, Dyna®, Softail ®, Sportster ® and VRSC™. Buell produces premium sport performance motorcycles and offers a line of motorcycle parts, accessories, and apparel. HDFS provides wholesale and retail financing and insurance programs primarily to Harley-Davidson and Buell dealers and customers.

Forward-Looking Statements

The Company intends that certain matters discussed in this release are "forward-looking statements" intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can generally be identified as such because the context of the statement will include words such as the Company "believes," "anticipates," "expects," "plans," or "estimates" or words of similar meaning. Similarly, statements that describe future plans, objectives, outlooks, targets, guidance or goals are also forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated as of the date of this release. Certain of such risks and uncertainties are described below. Shareholders, potential investors, and other readers are urged to consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements and cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements included in this release are only made as of the date of this release, and the Company disclaims any obligation to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

The Company's ability to meet the targets and expectations noted depends upon, among other factors, the Company's ability to (i) continue to realize production efficiencies at its production facilities and manage operating costs including materials, labor and overhead, (ii) manage production capacity and production changes, (iii) manage supply chain issues, (iv) provide products, services and experiences that are successful in the marketplace, (v) develop and implement sales and marketing plans that retain existing retail customers and attract new retail customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace, (vi) sell all of its motorcycles and related products and services to its independent dealers, (vii) continue to develop the capabilities of its distributor and dealer network, (viii) manage changes and prepare for requirements in legislative and regulatory environments for its products, services and operations, (ix) adjust to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, interest rates and commodity prices, (x) manage access to reliable sources of capital and adjust to fluctuations in the cost of capital, (xi) adjust to regional and worldwide demographic trends and economic and political conditions, including healthcare inflation, pension reform and tax changes, (xii) anticipate consumer confidence in the economy, (xiii) manage the credit quality, the loan servicing and collection activities, and the recovery rates of HDFS' loan portfolio, (xiv) retain and attract talented employees, (xv) detect any issues with our motorcycles or manufacturing processes to avoid delays in new model launches, recall campaigns, increased warranty costs or litigation and (xvi) implement and manage enterprise-wide information technology solutions and secure data contained in those systems.

In addition, the Company could experience delays or disruptions in its operations as a result of work stoppages, strikes, natural causes, terrorism or other factors. Other factors are described in risk factors that the Company has disclosed in documents previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Company's ability to sell its motorcycles and related products and services and to meet its financial expectations also depends on the ability of the Company's independent dealers to sell its motorcycles and related products and services to retail customers. The Company depends on the capability and financial capacity of its independent dealers and distributors to develop and implement effective retail sales plans to create demand for the motorcycles and related products and services they purchase from the Company.

In addition, the Company's independent dealers and distributors may experience difficulties in selling Harley-Davidson motorcycles and related products and services as a result of weather, economic conditions or other factors.

Source: Harley-Davidson

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