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Harley-Davidson releases Q4 findings

News release

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) full-year 2015 diluted earnings per share decreased 4.9 percent to $3.69 compared to diluted EPS of $3.88 in 2014. Net income was $752.2 million on consolidated revenue of $6.0 billion compared to full-year 2014 net income of $844.6 million on consolidated revenue of $6.23 billion. In the fourth quarter of 2015, diluted EPS was $0.22 compared to $0.35 in the prior year period. Fourth quarter net income was $42.2 million on consolidated revenue of $1.18 billion compared to net income of $74.5 million on consolidated revenue of $1.20 billion in the year-ago period.

"We are focused, with strength and resolve, on growing demand and building on our substantial market leadership position," said Matt Levatich, president and CEO, Harley-Davidson, Inc.  "Although we expect the macro-economic environment to remain challenging, we are confident we'll continue to lead with our powerful brand – not simply because of our substantial strengths but through our increased demand driving investments and our incredibly talented and passionate employees and dealers."

Throughout 2015, Harley-Davidson retail motorcycle sales were adversely affected by heightened competitive pressures including those arising from shifts in world currencies.

In October, the company unveiled plans to increase its customer-facing marketing investment, starting in 2016, by approximately 65 percent over 2015 levels, and to increase its investment in new product development by approximately 35 percent from 2015. These changes represent an approximate $70 million increase in investments to drive demand compared to 2015. The increased investments are focused in four areas: increasing product and brand awareness; growing new ridership in the U.S.; increasing and enhancing brand access; and accelerating the cadence and impact of new products.

"Our U.S. market share stabilized as we began to ramp up marketing investment, and as we lapped the initial impact of heightened competitiveness and price discounting that began late in the fourth quarter of 2014," said Levatich.

Retail Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales in Canada grew 12.3 percent in the quarter, following the company's move to direct distribution in the market. The Asia Pacific region had its best year ever for dealer sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles. For the full year, Harley-Davidson was number one in market share in the 601cc-plus segment in the U.S., Canada, Australia, India and Japan.

Guidance
Harley-Davidson expects to ship 269,000 to 274,000 motorcycles in 2016, an approximate 1 percent to 3 percent increase from 2015 shipments. In the first quarter of 2016, the company expects to ship 78,000 to 83,000 motorcycles compared to 79,589 motorcycles shipped in the year-ago period. The company expects full-year 2016 operating margin of approximately 16 to 17 percent for the Motorcycles segment. The company expects 2016 capital expenditures for Harley-Davidson, Inc. of $255 million to $275 million.

Income Tax Rate
For the full year 2015, Harley-Davidson's effective tax rate was 34.6 percent compared to 34.2 percent in 2014. The company expects its full-year 2016 effective tax rate will be approximately 34.5 percent.              

Cash Flow
Cash and marketable securities totaled $767.4 million at year-end 2015 compared to $964.0 million at year-end 2014. In 2015, Harley-Davidson generated $1.10 billion of cash from operating activities compared to $1.15 billion in 2014. On a discretionary basis, the company repurchased 12.7 million shares of Harley-Davidson, Inc. common stock during the fourth quarter of 2015 at a cost of $642.4 million. For the full year 2015, Harley-Davidson repurchased 27.9 million shares of its common stock at a cost of $1.53 billion, partially funded by a $750 million debt issuance. In the fourth quarter of 2015, there were approximately 190.6 million weighted-average diluted Harley-Davidson common shares outstanding. At the end of 2015, 9.0 million shares remained on board-approved share repurchase authorizations.

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