A strong second half of the year led Harley-Davidson Inc. to surpass $1 billion in net income for 2006.
The Milwaukee, Wis., manufacturer reported its net income in the third and fourth quarters increased nearly double figures compared to the previous year.
The company’s fourth-quarter net income rose 9.7 percent vs. 2005 and for the year, the bike builder reported a net income of $1.04 billion, an 8.7 percent increase from the previous year.
“After more than two decades of uninterrupted growth at Harley-Davidson, our dedicated employees and passionate dealers have once again delivered excellent results,” Jim Ziemer, Harley-Davidson’s CEO said in a press release.
The “excellent results” were not solely a result of fourth-quarter new unit sales in the United States, however. Retail sales were only up 0.3 percent, although Harley noted that its segment of the market decreased 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter. Overall, the company said its U.S. year-end new unit sales increased 5.9 percent, outpointing its industry segment, which grew at a 4.9-percent clip.
Worldwide sales of the company’s new units grew at a faster pace than U.S. sales.
“The enthusiastic worldwide response to the changes in our 2007 models contributed to an 8.5 percent increase in retail sales during the year,” Ziemer said.
International sales grew nearly 30 percent in the fourth quarter compared to 2005. That spike included a 31.2-percent increase in Europe, a 19.6-percent increase in Japan and a 37.4-percent rise in Canada.
“As we look to the future, we believe Harley-Davidson will deliver (earnings per share) growth in the range of 11–17 percent each year through 2009,” Ziemer said. Earnings per share for 2006 was $3.93, a 15.2 percent increase from the previous year.
Harley-Davidson also reported the following in its year-end finance report:
Wholesale shipments of Harley-Davidson motorcycles were 349,196 units for the year, a 6.1 percent increase compared to 2005. Looking forward, the company said it expects to ship between 82,000-84,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the first quarter of 2007. psb