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Polaris reports Q4 results

Polaris Industries Inc. reported its fourth quarter 2016 sales of $1,217.8 million, up 10 percent from $1,105.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2015. Fourth quarter 2016 reported net income was $62.6 million, or $0.97 per diluted share, compared with $110.7 million, or $1.66 per diluted share, for the 2015 fourth quarter. Adjusted net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2016, excluding purchase accounting adjustments and certain costs related to the acquisition of TAP, was $76.1 million, or $1.18 per diluted share.

For the full year ended December 31, 2016 the company reported sales of $4,516.6 million, a decrease of 4 percent versus $4,719.3 million in the prior year. Reported net income was $212.9 million, or $3.27 per diluted share, compared with $455.4 million, or $6.75 per diluted share, for the full year 2015. Adjusted net income, excluding purchase accounting adjustments and certain costs related to the acquisition of TAP was $226.5 million, or $3.48 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2016.

On November 10, 2016, the Company completed the acquisition of TAP, a vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor, retailer and installer of off-road Jeep and truck accessories, for an aggregate consideration of $669 million.

“2016 was a difficult and challenging year for Polaris, but our culture is geared to deal head on with adversity and learn from it, and that’s what we did in 2016. In response to a series of recalls, we took the necessary steps to ensure that Polaris vehicles deliver the quality, safety and performance that our customers expect. We are relying on these enhanced improvements, consistent execution, and aggressive innovation to regain our footing as the ‘Best in Powersports’,” commented Scott Wine.

“Our team worked incredibly hard in 2016 to serve our Off Road Vehicle customers and dealers, and that work is accelerating into 2017. It is a very competitive ORV market and we will aggressively execute and revitalize our broad set of tools that built the most successful armada in Powersports. Significant progress was made across our businesses, including mid-twenty percent growth in Indian Motorcycle retail sales and an eight percent reduction in dealer inventories year-over-year, while at the same time, reducing factory inventory 16 percent excluding acquisitions, and improving operating cash flow by 30 percent in 2016. Further, we completed the Taylor Dunn acquisition in the work space and TAP in the aftermarket space, executing our strategy to enhance profitable growth opportunities in adjacent markets. We continued to enhance our Quality and Safety organization, production in our new facility in Huntsville, Alabama is ramping up to become the enabler to our go to market Retail Flow Management (RFM) process, and lean initiatives across our network drove approximately $150 million in gross Value Improvement (“VIP”) savings during the year.”

“The entire Polaris team is committed to superior execution, improved product safety and quality, enhanced dealer relations, and earning the trust our customers and stakeholders place in the Polaris brand, in 2017 and beyond. We are accelerating our research and development investments to again win the ORV product game, focusing on the successful integration of TAP, and developing our competitive position in Motorcycles, all of which will drive increasing shareholder value in the future.”

Off-Road Vehicle (“ORV”) and Snowmobile segment sales, including their respective PG&A related sales, were $905.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with $862.0 million for the fourth quarter for the prior year. Gross profit decreased one percent to $259.2 million, or 28.6 percent of sales, in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to $262.8 million, or 30.5 percent of sales, in the fourth quarter of 2015. Gross profit percentage declined primarily due to higher promotional spending and increased warranty expense.

ORV wholegood sales for the fourth quarter 2016 increased three percent as the Company’s model year 2017 vehicle revalidations were completed and shipments resumed, including the RZR Turbo vehicles which have higher average selling prices. Polaris North American ORV unit retail sales for the fourth quarter 2016 were down mid-single digits percent from the 2015 fourth quarter, which included consumer purchases for side-by-side vehicles down low-single digits percent and ATV retail sales down about ten percent. The North American ORV industry was flat compared to the fourth quarter last year. ORV dealer inventory was down 11 percent in the 2016 fourth quarter compared to the same period last year.

Snowmobile wholegood sales in the fourth quarter 2016 increased 13 percent due to the timing of shipments, year-over-year and a favorable mix of higher priced snowmobiles shipped during the quarter.

Motorcycle segment sales, including its PG&A related sales, decreased 35 percent in the 2016 fourth quarter to $105.7 million. Both Indian and Victory reported lower sales in the fourth quarter due to difficult comparables as product availability for all brands improved significantly in the 2015 fourth quarter, and as the Company reduced motorcycle production in the 2016 fourth quarter to complete the final paint system upgrade in Spirit Lake, IA. Slingshot sales were down due to low product availability related to recall activity. Gross profit for the fourth quarter 2016 decreased 94 percent to $1.6 million compared to $24.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 due to lower production rates and higher warranty expense.

North American consumer retail demand for the Polaris motorcycle segment, including Victory, Indian Motorcycle and Slingshot, was down mid-single digits percent during the 2016 fourth quarter while the overall motorcycle industry retail sales, 900cc and above, declined low-single digits percent in the 2016 fourth quarter. Indian Motorcycles retail sales increased about 20 percent while Victory retail sales were down mid-single digits percent during the quarter. Slingshot retail sales were down significantly due to tough comparable in the fourth quarter last year as the Company experienced unseasonably strong retail sales in the initial year of Slingshot product availability in 2015.

Global Adjacent Markets segment sales along with its PG&A related sales, increased 21 percent to $98.4 million in the 2016 fourth quarter compared $81.0 in the 2015 fourth quarter. Gross profit increased 30 percent to $29.0 million, or 29.5 percent of sales, in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to $22.2 million, or 27.4 percent of sales, in the fourth quarter of 2015. Sales and gross profit were up primarily due to increased sales in the Company’s Defense business in the 2016 fourth quarter. Sales to military customers were up approximately 95 percent driving the quarter. Work and Transportation group wholegood sales were up seven percent during the fourth quarter of 2016 primarily due to increased Aixam sales and Taylor-Dunn sales.

Supplemental Data:

Parts, Garments, and Accessories (“PG&A”) saleswhich are included in each of the three respective reporting segments, excluding TAP sales of $108.7 million, increased nine percent for the 2016 fourth quarter. All three reporting segments experienced higher PG&A sales during the quarter primarily due to higher parts sales during the quarter.

International sales to customers outside of North America totaled $178.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, including PG&A, down two percent, from the same period in 2015. International sales on a constant currency basis were flat for the 2016 fourth quarter.

Gross profit increased one percent to $312.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 from $310.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, including the negative impact of $8.8 million in purchase accounting adjustments related to the TAP acquisition. As a percentage of sales, gross profit margin was 25.7 percent compared with 28.1 percent of sales for the fourth quarter of 2015. Adjusted gross profit was $321.6 million, or 26.4 percent of sales. Increased warranty and promotional costs and negative foreign exchange impacts, partially offset by favorable product mix and product cost reduction efforts, were the primary reasons for the gross margin erosion.

Operating expenses increased 38 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016 to $233.3 million from $169.1 million, including $12.7 million in TAP deal-related expenses. Excluding these costs, operating expenses increased primarily due to higher general and administrative expenses from higher product liability expenses, increased research and development expenses for ongoing product refinement and innovation and the addition of operating expenses from acquisitions.

Income from financial services was $19.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, up seven percent compared with $18.0 million for the fourth quarter 2015. The increase is attributable to higher penetration rates in the retail credit portfolio and higher income from the sale of extended service contracts.

Non-operating other expense, net, which primarily relates to foreign currency exchange rate movements and the corresponding effects on foreign currency transactions related to the Company’s foreign subsidiaries, was $6.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, versus $3.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The provision for income taxes for the fourth quarter of 2016 was $22.9 million, compared with $40.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2015, or 26.8 percent, versus 26.7 percent of pretax income for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Financial Position and Cash Flow

Net cash provided by operating activities was $571.8 million for the full 2016 year, compared with $440.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2015 due to lower working capital requirements. Total debt at the end of 2016, including capital lease obligations and notes payable, was $1,141.9 million. The Company’s debt-to-total capital ratio was 57 percent at December 31, 2016, compared to 32 percent a year ago. Cash and cash equivalents were $127.3 million at December 31, 2016, compared with $155.3 million at December 31, 2015.

Share Buyback Activity

During the fourth quarter 2016, the Company repurchased and retired 1,105,500 shares of its common stock for $91.4 million, bringing total share repurchases to 2,908,000 shares or $245.8 million for the full year 2016. As of December 31, 2016, the Company currently has authorization from its Board of Directors to repurchase up to an additional 7.5 million shares of Polaris stock.

2017 Business Outlook

The Company expects full year 2017 adjusted net income to be in the range of $4.25 to $4.50 per diluted share, compared with adjusted net income of $3.48 per diluted share for 2016. Full year 2017 sales are anticipated to increase in the range of 10 percent to 13 percent over 2016 sales of $4,516.6 million.

Wind down of Victory Motorcycles

Polaris announced on January 9, 2017 its intention to wind down its Victory® Motorcycles operations. The decision is expected to improve the long-term profitability of Polaris and its global motorcycle business, while materially improving the Company’s competitive position in the industry. The Company will record one-time costs associated with supporting Victory dealers in selling their remaining inventory, the disposal of factory inventory, tooling, and other physical assets, and the cancellation of various supplier arrangements. These one-time costs will be recorded in the 2017 income statement in respective sales, gross profit and operating expense beginning in the first quarter of 2017. These costs will be excluded from Polaris’ 2017 sales and earnings guidance on a non-GAAP basis.

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