Wabash posts losses, appoints new executives

Trailer maker Wabash National Corp. of Lafayette, IN, is adding new faces to its executive management team as its financial losses mount. Gary Bateman has been appointed VP-management information systems, with responsibility for Wabash’s information technology hardware and software platforms and voice and data communications. Nick Fletcher is Wabash’s new VP of human resources, and Bryan Langford has been named VP of the firm’s aftermarket parts and accessories business.

Wabash said net sales for the third quarter of 2001 dropped to $242 million, down from $346 million in the same period last year. The company said it lost $61.4 million in the third quarter, compared to income of $5 million in the same period last year.

For the first nine months of 2001, net sales dropped by nearly 30% to $697 million, with Wabash losing $97 million, compared to net sales of $1.1 billion and net income of $21.6 million for the same period in 2000.

Richard E. Dessimoz, Wabash’s acting CEO, added that the company has closed manufacturing plants in Ft. Madison, IA, and Scott County, TN, as well as a California parts distribution facility and effected significant workforce reductions. He said the cost savings from those reductions should begin to be felt in the fourth quarter.

To reduce its plants, workforce, and used trailer inventory, however, is costing Wabash serious money. It took a $40.5 million, pre-tax, restructuring and related charge and a $28.7 million pre-tax charge related to its reduction plans for used trailer inventories. Of the total $69.2 million in pre-tax charges recorded during the third quarter, approximately $3 million were cash related charges.

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