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U.S. retail sales down 4.2 percent in Q1 for Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson recently reported first quarter 2019 results. Earnings per share and retail sales finished stronger than expected during the quarter. The company's More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth continues to show strong progression, including the appointment of its first-ever brand president and the acquisition of StaCyc.

First Quarter 2019

  • GAAP diluted EPS of $0.80 per share, ahead of company expectations
  • Encouraged by U.S. retail sales performance; Harley-Davidson U.S. market share up
  • Global dealer inventory down, well positioned for spring selling season
  • Intensified brand focus; hired President, Harley-Davidson Brand
  • Acquired StaCyc, a producer of electric-powered two-wheelers for kids
  • Broadened reach with new Electra Glide Standard at $18,999 U.S. MSRP
  • Manufacturing optimization remained on-track
  • Thailand manufacturing strategy accelerated retail sales growth in ASEAN emerging markets
  • Increased dividend 1.4 percent, repurchased $52.6 million of shares

First quarter 2019 GAAP diluted EPS was $0.80, compared to year-ago GAAP diluted EPS, which was $1.03. Excluding restructuring plan costs and the impact of incremental tariffs, first quarter 2019 diluted EPS was $0.98 compared to $1.24 in the first quarter of 2018. First quarter 2019 net income was $127.9 million on consolidated revenue of $1.38 billion versus net income of $174.8 million on consolidated revenue of $1.54 billion in 2018.

Harley-Davidson worldwide retail sales decreased 3.8 percent in the first quarter. International retail sales were down 3.3 percent. U.S. retail sales were down 4.2 percent in the first quarter driven by continued weak industry sales which were down 4.7 percent. First quarter worldwide retail sales were impacted by the limited availability of Street motorcycles due to the recall announced in January.

"We are acting with agility and discipline to take full advantage of rapidly evolving global markets. Harley-Davidson's U.S. market share growth and retail sales performance in the first quarter are further evidence of the effects we are having as we continue to implement and dial-in our More Roads efforts," said Matt Levatich, president and chief executive officer, Harley-Davidson, Inc. "We are driven by our un-paralleled rider focus and deep analytics that are guiding our efforts today and into the future. We, along with our dealers, are determined to lead and stimulate global industry growth."

Strategy to Build the Next Generation of Riders

More Roads accelerated plan for growth
Harley-Davidson's strategic objectives through 2027 are to build 2 million new riders in the U.S., grow international business to 50 percent of annual volume, launch 100 new high impact motorcycles and do so profitably and sustainably.

The More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth is aligned with the company's strategy to deliver sustainable growth and build the next generation of riders by delivering exciting products in existing and new spaces, broader access to Harley-Davidson and an optimized customer experience through an even stronger dealer network.  The company plans to maintain its current investment and return profile and capital allocation strategy, while it funds strategic opportunities expected to drive revenue growth and expand operating margin through 2022.

During the quarter, Harley-Davidson made further progress on its More Roads plan, including appointing its first-ever brand president, a move that positions the company to fully engage the power of the brand as a catalyst to achieve its strategy and long-term objectives. The company also expanded its electric portfolio with the acquisition of StaCyc, a maker of electric two-wheelers for kids. During the quarter, the company and its dealers continued preparations to launch LiveWire, Harley-Davidson's first electric motorcycle, later this year.

"In the short eight months since we announced our More Roads plan, we continue to accelerate our progress to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders," said Levatich. "During the first quarter we intensified our march by investing in our future and adding capabilities that we're confident will inspire riders today and for generations to come."

Building Riders
As Harley-Davidson continues to inspire diverse, new riders around the globe, the company increased its reach and impact in the first quarter and delivered a wide range of results including the following highlights:

New, more diverse customers

  • 278,000 new riders joined Harley-Davidson in 2018 in the U.S. This group is the most diverse across age, ethnicity and gender in all of the years Harley-Davidson has tracked this data*

Impactful products broadening reach

  • Expanded access to new customers in part with the launch of the new Electra Glide Standard motorcycle at $18,999 U.S. MSRP

Increased marketing support reached more consumers sooner and drove action -- increased traffic to H-D.com, brand awareness, trial and sales

  • Media spend up nearly 90 percent, focused on increased brand awareness and driving sales
  • Direct marketing up over 200 percent
  • PR and Media Impression - 2 billion, up from 436 million

Manufacturing 
The company started supplying motorcycles to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) emerging markets from its Thailand operations in late 2018.  The tariff mitigation realized by this strategy allowed more competitive pricing and helped drive a Q1 retail sales increase of 126 percent in these markets.

To further improve its manufacturing operations and cost structure, in the first quarter of 2018 the company commenced its multi-year manufacturing optimization initiative anchored by the consolidation of its motorcycle assembly plant in Kansas City, Mo. into its plant in York, Pa. Upon completion of the program, the company continues to expect ongoing annual cash savings of $65 million to $75 million after 2020. In the first quarter of 2019, costs related to the manufacturing optimization were $17.6 million. For the full year, the company expects to realize savings of $25 million to $30 million and to incur $50 million to $60 million of operating expense.

Harley-Davidson Retail Motorcycle Sales 
 Vehicles 1st Quarter
20192018Change
U.S.28,09129,309(4.2)%
EMEA10,79710,862(0.6)%
Asia Pacific 6,0746,329(4.0)%
Latin America2,2412,506(10.6)%
Canada1,9482,080(6.3)%
International Total21,06021,777(3.3)%
Worldwide Total49,15151,086(3.8)%

The U.S. 601+cc industry was down 4.7 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2018. Harley-Davidson's first quarter U.S. market share was up 0.6 pts to 51.1 percent.  Harley-Davidson's Europe market share was down 1.6 percentage points to 8.8 percent.

Motorcycles and Related Products Segment Results
 $ in thousands1st Quarter
20192018Change
Motorcycle Shipments (vehicles)58,89163,944(7.9)%
Revenue  $1,195,637$1,363,947(12.3)%
   Motorcycles$964,575$1,121,673(14.0)%
   Parts & Accessories$ 159,703$169,075(5.5)%
   General Merchandise$ 55,401$56,601(2.1)%
Gross Margin 29.1%34.7%(5.6) pts.
Operating Income $108,381$172,838(37.3)%
Operating Margin 9.1%12.7%(3.6) pts.

Revenue from the Motorcycles segment was down in the first quarter behind lower shipments. Operating income decreased due to lower revenues, unfavorable product mix and increased tariffs, partially offset by lower SG&A and restructuring charges.

Financial Services Segment Results
 $ in thousands1st Quarter
20192018Change
Revenue$188,743$178,1745.9%
Operating Income$58,731$63,579(7.6)%

Financial Services segment first quarter earnings of $58.7 million were down 7.6 percent.

Other Results 
Cash and marketable securities were $759.6 million at the end of first quarter 2019, compared to $753.5 million in 2018. Harley-Davidson generated $32.7 million of cash from operating activities in first quarter of 2019 compared to $191.6 million in 2018. The company paid a cash dividend of $0.375 per share for the first quarter, which was up 1.4 percent compared to last year. On a discretionary basis, Harley-Davidson repurchased 1.5 million shares of its common stock during the first quarter for $52.6 million. During the quarter, there were approximately 160.0 million weighted-average diluted common shares outstanding. At the end of the first quarter, 14.9 million shares remained on a board-approved share repurchase authorization.

Harley-Davidson's first quarter effective tax rate was 24.9 percent compared to 24.1 percent in 2018.

2019 Outlook
For the full-year 2019, the company continues to expect:

  • Motorcycle shipments to be approximately 217,000 to 222,000 motorcycles. In the second quarter, the company expects to ship approximately 65,500 to 70,500 motorcycles
  • Motorcycles segment operating margin as a percent of revenue to be approximately 8.0 to 9.0 percent
  • Financial Services segment operating income to be down year-over-year
  • Effective tax rate of approximately 24.0 to 25.0 percent
  • Capital expenditures of $225 million to $245 million including approximately $20 million to support manufacturing optimization

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