Wabash National sales, profits rise sharply

Wabash National Corporation sales and profits were up significantly for the second quarter of 2005 and for the first half of the year, according to figures released July 20.

Net sales for the second quarter were $323 million, compared with $255 million for the same period last year. Net income for the quarter was $49 million or $1.33 diluted earnings per share, compared with $18 million or $0.56 per diluted share for the same period last year.

For the six months ended June 30, net sales were $579 million, compared with $476 million for 2004. Net income for the first six months of 2005 totaled $68 million or $1.85 per diluted share, compared with $25 million or $0.80 per diluted share last year.

Included in the results for the 2005 second quarter and year-to-date periods was a reversal of a valuation allowance for deferred tax assets amounting to $29 million or $0.77 per diluted share.

"Against historic norms, we had a great quarter” said Bill Greubel, president and chief executive officer. “Units shipped were at record levels, our customer base continues to grow substantially, and our retail side of the business was profitable for the second straight quarter. That said, we missed on some key operating metrics due in part due to the cancellation of a 2,000 unit order, which was to be produced in June and caused scheduling challenges. Additionally, we encountered production delays due to associate turnover and a sharper focus on quality. These issues created increased manufacturing cycle times and high levels of rework which reduced shippable units and compressed margins. Corrective actions initiated in June will continue in the third quarter. It's been a painful process but we're going to be a lot better off for this effort.”

Greubel said that quote and order activity moderated during the quarter, in line with seasonal patterns.

“We expect to continue to grow our customer base through the year. However, given the large size of the cancellation taken in the quarter and our continuing efforts on the plant floor, our expectation for trailer shipments in 2005 is approximately 58,000 units versus our goal of 60,000 units. Currently, we have booked orders for approximately 90% of the 58,000 units."

Backlog at June 30 amounted to approximately $380 million vs. $500 million March 31, reflecting the normal cycle of order placement and production.

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