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Harley-Davidson releases first quarter results

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) first quarter 2016 diluted earnings per share increased 7.1 percent to $1.36 compared to diluted EPS of $1.27 in the same period in 2015. Net income was $250.5 million on consolidated revenue of $1.75 billion compared to net income of $269.9 million on consolidated revenue of $1.67 billion in last year's first quarter.

"I am pleased with how our first quarter results demonstrate the progress we're making in both driving demand and delivering business performance in a highly competitive environment," said Matt Levatich, president and Chief Executive Officer, Harley-Davidson, Inc.

Harley-Davidson worldwide retail motorcycle sales in the first quarter were up 1.4 percent, driven by a 4.5 percent increase in international markets. Although retail motorcycle sales in the U.S. were down slightly compared to the year-ago quarter, retail sales trends have significantly improved over previous quarters.  Worldwide retail sales were driven, in part, by increased investments in marketing and new product introductions.

In 2016, the company is increasing its marketing and product development investments to drive demand. 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.

"The increased marketing and new product investments are beginning to take hold and we anticipate continued progress across our focus areas as we dial in and ramp-up our approach," said Levatich.

Retail Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Sales

In the first quarter, retail sales in EMEA were up 8.8 percent, demonstrating the power of the brand amid strong competition. Asia Pacific had its best first quarter ever, with retail sales up 6.6 percent, driven by strong demand across the region. Canada grew 16.3 percent versus the year-ago period as a result of the company's transition to direct distribution. U.S. sales were down slightly due to increased competitive discounting and continued weakness in areas of the country that are dependent on the oil industry. U.S. market share for the first quarter was 50.9 percent.

Harley-Davidson began shipping two new powerful cruisers in March - the Low Rider S and the CVO Pro Street Breakout — and yesterday unveiled the new Harley-Davidson Roadster model, which will begin shipping in May.

Also in March, the company launched its Live Your Legend integrated marketing campaign. The campaign debuted in the U.S. during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and will continue rolling out globally through 2016. 

"The Live Your Legend message is a rallying cry to inspire new generations of riders to invest now in experiences that define their legacy," said Levatich. "It's one example of how we are creating powerful connections with new riders and strengthening our bond with our existing riders."

In line with its strategic objectives, Harley-Davidson continues to bring new riders into the sport of motorcycling while also broadening brand appeal demographically. In 2015, one-third of Harley-Davidson new motorcycle purchasers in the U.S. had not owned a motorcycle previously.* In the U.S. for the eighth straight year, Harley-Davidson was the number-one seller of new on-road motorcycles of all displacements to young adults ages 18-34, women, African Americans and Hispanics, as well as Caucasian men ages 35 plus.*

Motorcycles and Related Products Segment Results

Revenue from motorcycles and related products was up versus the prior quarter behind increased motorcycle shipments. Operating margin as a percent of revenue decreased versus the prior year as a result of lower gross margin.

Financial Services Segment Results

Financial services operating income was lower in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the year-ago period as a result of a higher provision for retail credit loan losses.

* Data is based on Harley-Davidson's analysis of Polk U.S. new motorcycle registration data from IHS Automotive for CY2008-2015.

Guidance
Harley-Davidson continues to expect it will ship 269,000 to 274,000 motorcycles in 2016, an approximate 1 to 3 percent increase from 2015. In the second quarter of 2016, the company expects to ship 82,500 to 87,500 motorcycles compared to 85,172 motorcycles shipped in the year-ago period. The company continues to expect full-year 2016 operating margin of approximately 16 to 17 percent for the Motorcycles segment. The company continues to expect 2016 capital expenditures for Harley-Davidson, Inc. of $255 million to $275 million.

Income Tax Rate
For the first quarter of 2016, Harley-Davidson's effective tax rate was 34.5 percent compared to 34.4 percent in 2015. The company continues to expect its full-year 2016 effective tax rate will be approximately 34.5 percent.

Cash Flow
Cash and marketable securities totaled $739.1 million at the end of the first quarter, compared to $1.23 billion in the year-ago quarter. In the first quarter of 2016, Harley-Davidson generated $41.1 million of cash from operating activities compared to $174.7 million in the first quarter of 2015. The company paid a cash dividend of $0.35 per share for the first quarter, an increase of 12.9 percent compared to the fourth-quarter 2015 dividend of $0.31 per share. On a discretionary basis, the company repurchased 3.4 million shares of Harley-Davidson common stock during the first quarter of 2016 for $144.6 million. In the first quarter of 2016, there were approximately 184.2 million weighted-average diluted common shares outstanding, compared to approximately 211.8 million shares in the year-ago quarter. At the end of the first quarter, 25.6 million shares remained on board-approved share repurchase authorizations.

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