Restructuring helps Harley profits soar

With a boost from restructuring, including lower labor costs, Harley-Davidson Inc. reported that its fourth quarter net income soared to $105.7 million, or 24 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $46.8 million, or 18 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 10.9 percent worldwide in the fourth quarter compared to the prior-year period, including an 11.8 percent increase in the United States. For the full year 2011, new Harley-Davidson motorcycle retail sales rose 5.9 percent worldwide and 5.8 percent in the United States.
In 2011, the Milwaukee-based company realized cumulative savings from restructuring activities initiated since early 2009 of $217 million. Upon completion, Harley-Davidson continues to expect restructuring activities to generate annual ongoing savings of $315 million to $335 million, beginning in 2014. For the full year 2011, Harley-Davidson incurred one-time restructuring costs of $68.0 million. The company now expects all restructuring activities initiated since 2009 to result in one-time overall costs of $500 million to $520 million through 2013, including $50 million to $60 million in 2012, a $5 million reduction to the range previously provided.
"Our improved performance in 2011 is the result of the tremendous efforts of all of our employees, dealers and suppliers," said Keith Wandell, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson.
"Harley-Davidson is all about fulfilling dreams through remarkable motorcycles and extraordinary customer experiences. In 2011 we made strong progress at transforming our business to be more agile and effective than ever at exceeding customer expectations," Wandell said. "The changes underway across the organization will enable Harley-Davidson to be world class and customer led like never before, with shorter product development lead times, flexible manufacturing and an unmatched premium retail experience.  At retail, we believe the solid improvement in new Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales reflects the strong appeal of our product lineup to a diverse customer base and the great efforts of our dealers, combined with results from our investments in growth opportunities across all regions and improved consumer confidence in the U.S. While we are encouraged by the retail sales trend, we continue to keep a close watch on the marketplace and remain cautious in our expectations for 2012.”
Harley-Davidson expects to ship 240,000 to 245,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2012, a 3- to 5-percent increase from 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, the company expects to ship 58,000 to 63,000 motorcycles.

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