Spartan Motors, Inc. reported its best quarter and year-end sales and earnings results in company history, capping off a record-setting year for one of the leading manufacturers of custom vehicle chassis and emergency-rescue vehicles.
For the year ended 2007, Spartan reported sales increased 53.1 percent and net earnings increased 45.6 percent compared to last year. Spartan reported net earnings of $24.5 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, on net sales of $681.9 million for the year ended 2007, compared with last year's net earnings of $16.8 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, on net sales of $445.4 million.
Spartan reported net earnings of $8.2 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, on net sales of $237.6 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2007, compared with net earnings of $3.3 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, on net sales of $123.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2006.
"2007 was a year of rapid sales growth, competitive pricing and investment in flexible manufacturing capacity," said John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Spartan Motors Inc. "Although we had some margin compression as a result, these strategic investments have helped us secure more orders as reflected in our current backlog, and positioned us for continued growth."
"Looking ahead to 2008 we are expecting a year of solid sales growth, driven in part by our largest ever fourth quarter backlog. Our multi-market strategy is a diversified business model where our customers operate on different business cycles, providing us upside potential and reducing downside risk.
"Although municipalities continue to manage ever-tightening budgets, our aging population continues to drive demand for emergency services. Every 20 seconds there is a call for help in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. This increasing demand, and the state of some competitors in the industry, could provide Spartan opportunities to grow sales as municipal funding is impacted by economic uncertainties."
Sales for the fourth quarter at Spartan Chassis, the company's largest operating unit, increased 85.7 percent year-over year to $211.2 million. Spartan Chassis was 88.9 percent of Spartan Motors' total sales. Fourth quarter net earnings at Spartan Chassis improved 74.2 percent year-over-year, and the unit's backlog as of Dec. 31, 2007 increased 76.8 percent year-over- year.
Sales of fire truck chassis increased 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to the same period last year. Backlog for fire truck chassis at the end of the fourth quarter was $60.4 million, a 28.5 percent decrease compared with last year. The year-over-year decrease in backlog in the 2007 fourth quarter reflected both industry-wide softness in municipal ordering, and an improvement in delivery time of product from Spartan to customers.
Other product sales, including specialty vehicle chassis for MRAP military vehicles, and Spartan Chassis' growing service, parts and accessories business, increased 233.9 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2007. Backlog for other products more than tripled over the same period of 2006 to $199.4 million as of Dec. 31, 2007. Spartan expects to report additional orders in the near future from its military customers.