May 24, 2010 – Finance Digest

Yamaha: Mixed N. America Marine, Motorcycle Sales

Yamaha Motor Group continues to adjust its marine and motorcycle wholesale inventories, which was reflected in the company’s recent earnings report.
Yamaha reported a significant decrease in wholesale motorcycle sales but an increase in outboard marine motors in its first-quarter earnings. The company’s overall North American sales fell 23 percent to $419 million for its first quarter, which ended March 31.
Yamaha’s North American motorcycle sales fell 57.5 percent to 17,000 units, reflecting its ongoing inventories adjustments in the United States, according to a company earnings report. However, Yamaha’s outboard marine engine sales in North America rose nearly 30 percent following the completion of the company’s inventory adjustments. The company, however, did note its retail sales in this sector continue to be sluggish.
Overall, Yamaha’s net sales rose 16 percent thanks in part to increased sales of motorcycles in Asia.
Yamaha’s overall motorcycle sales totaled 1.6 million units, an increase of 26.5 percent. Like North America, European sales of motorcycles also declined compared to the previous year. Sales there totaled 54,000 units, a decrease of 29 percent.
Yamaha’s Power Products Division, which includes ATVs and side-by-sides, reported a 19 percent decrease in sales in North America compared to the previous year.
Yamaha Motor Group did report a net income of $80 million after finishing with a loss in its first quarter a year ago.

Kawasaki’s North American Sales Dip Nearly 40 Percent

Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ North American sales fell 38 percent in its recent fiscal year, the company recently reported.
Those sales, which totaled $1.6 billion, included all of Kawasaki’s divisions, including its powersports sales that are part of the company’s Consumer Products and Machinery division. Overall, Kawasaki reported sales of
$12.6 billion for its fiscal year, which ended March 31. The company’s sales decreased 12 percent. However, the company reported a loss of $116 million.
Consumer Products and Machinery was the lone Kawasaki division to report an operating loss for its fiscal year. The company reported a loss of $340 million for this division.
Powersports sales for North America were not broken out in the earnings report.
Kawasaki is forecasting a slight growth in revenue for its 2011 fiscal year and a return to profitability.

FreedomRoad Financial Offers Financing for Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi USA and FreedomRoad Financial are teaming up to extend a new retail financing program across the entire model line in the Italian manufacturer’s U.S. product portfolio, the companies reported in a release.
The new program offers qualified buyers terms as low as zero down with a 5.99 percent APR rate.
“We’re excited to give both current customers and first-time buyers a low-cost option for adding a new-generation Moto Guzzi to their garage,” Rick Panettieri, Moto Guzzi brand manager, said in the release.

ADP Lightspeed, RpmOne
Integrate Online Tools

ADP Lightspeed has partnered with F&I services provider RpmOne to integrate the LightspeedNXT dealership management system and RpmOne online F&I tools, according to a recent joint press release.
“To increase F&I sales, dealers need to quickly create accurate and flexible contracts,” the companies said in the release. “Integration between LightspeedNXT and RpmOne enables smooth transitions from the sales floor to the F&I office. Connecting the two systems ensures accurate information, eliminates time-consuming double entry and makes it easier for dealers to build packages that fit the customers’ needs.”
Information entered into LightpeedNXT sales deals is passed directly to RpmOne’s online tools by clicking a button. Once the information is passed to RpmOne, F&I managers can walk customers through a range of online offerings.

Assurant Reports a 95 Percent Increase in Net Income

Assurant reported a vastly improved net income from the year-ago quarter in its latest earnings report.
Assurant’s division that operates in the powersports market, Assurant Solutions, however saw a decline in first-quarter revenue.
Overall, the company’s net income totaled $157.2 million, a 95 percent improvement over the year-ago quarter.
“We are encouraged by the progress made to increase revenues, manage expenses and increase profitability,” Robert Pollock, Assurant’s CEO, said in a press release. “We are mindful that continued high unemployment will temper economic recovery, and health-care reform will bring about changes in how some of our businesses operate.”
Assurant Solutions’ first-quarter revenue totaled $28.9 million, down nearly 5 percent. The company said this division’s domestic net earned premiums declined because of lower service contract sales in 2009 and the continued loss of premiums from former clients that are no longer in business.

Ex-Ingersoll Rand Executive Hired at Arctic Cat

Arctic Cat Inc. has named a former Ingersoll Rand executive as its new vice president of operations.
Paul Fisher, 53, succeeds Ron Ray, who retired from Arctic Cat on May 15 after 18 years with the company.
Fisher brings more than 25 years of leadership experience with international businesses, driving lean manufacturing, quality and supply chain improvements.
“Paul’s expertise complements our organization’s strategic direction and continuous improvement goals,” Christopher Twomey, Arctic Cat’s CEO, said in a press release. “We also want to thank Ron, who is retiring from this position after 18 years. Ron’s contributions are significant. He has been a strong leader, who has worked tirelessly to improve all aspects of Arctic Cat’s operations.”
Fisher joins Arctic Cat from Ingersoll Rand, where he served as business leader of the Trane Residential Division’s operations in Tyler, Texas, Ingersoll Rand’s largest plant. There, he oversaw manufacturing operations of outdoor condensers, leading improvements in the cost of goods sold, safety and quality.
Before joining Ingersoll Rand, Fisher was employed by Maytag Corp. for approximately 21 years.

Cooper Tire Sees Sales Increases in All Sectors

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., which includes motorcycle tire brand Avon Tyres, reported improved sales and net income for its latest quarter.The Findlay, Ohio-based manufacturer saw its sales increase by 32 percent to $754 million and its net income finish at $12 million. The year-ago period ended in a $16 million loss.
The company attributed its better performance to “improved volumes and increased utilization of manufacturing capacity.”
North American tire operations sales were $532 million during the first quarter, up 21 percent from the year-ago period. The company said it saw improvements in all market sectors.
“The increases in volume were the result of better industry conditions combined with successfully positioning the company for growth,” Cooper Tire CEO Roy Armes said in a press release. “The momentum also continued in our operations where our efforts to be more cost competitive were again visible on the bottom line.” PSB

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