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Sept. 1, 2008 – Finance Digest

September 1, 2008
Filed under Features

Kawasaki reports decreased sales
Kawasaki Heavy Industries reported decreased sales for its consumer products and machinery division, which includes powersports products.
For its quarter ending June 30, the consumer products and machinery division had a 21 percent decrease in sales compared to the year-ago quarter. Quarterly revenue for that segment was more than $880 million.
Overall, Kawasaki Heavy Industries reported an 8 percent decrease in net sales. Net income fell 32.5 percent from the year-ago quarter.


Ducati motor reports increase in 1Q motorcycle sales
Ducati sold significantly more new motorcycles in its fiscal first quarter than a year ago, the company reported.
The Italian manufacturer sold more than 28,700 motorcycles, a 25.5 percent increase over the year-ago period.
As a result, the company’s first-quarter revenues increased 34.7 percent to $473.7 million. Ducati Motor Holding’s net income also increased substantially, up more than 122 percent from the year-ago period to $52.4 million.
“The main factors that have contributed to the positive trend are the increased sell-in, a richer product mix than outlined in the (Strategic Plan 2008-2010) and a better absorption of fixed costs,” Ducati Motor Holding CEO Gabriele Del Torchio, said in a press release.
Ducati shipped 6,226 motorcycles to North America during its first quarter, a 7 percent increase over the year-ago period. Shipments were increased even more to Europe. Ducati sent more than 15,500 bikes there, a 37.4 percent increase over the previous year period.
Ducati registrations increased in Europe (by 9 percent) and in North America (2.4 percent) while it dropped in Japan (9.6 percent).
Ducati expects its complete 2008 fiscal revenue to increase 18-20 percent over the previous year.


Cycle Country announces third-quarter loss
Cycle Country Accessories reported a net loss of an estimated $370,000 on revenues of about $3.4 million for this year’s third quarter.
The loss is partly due to increased raw material costs and an increase in selling and general and administrative costs. Also, the Weekend Warrior and Plastic Wheel Covers divisions showed weaker numbers.
Cycle Country’s management staff is further developing cost savings and efficiency plans, as well as re-evaluating and refocusing its efforts to generate growth in all its segments.
Cycle Country also reported its preseason snow blade orders were above normal levels as management worked with distributors to create incentives in the face of continuing raw material increases during the latter part of its third quarter.


Cooper Tire reports second-quarter loss
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.’s second-quarter net income fell due to reduced demand in North America and record-high raw material and utility costs, according to MarketWatch.
The company reported a loss of $22.2 million compared to a profit of $17.6 million during the same period a year ago.
Although revenue increased from $730 million to $773 million, an increase of about 6 percent, the cost of sales rose 13 percent.


UTI states negative third-quarter results
The Universal Technical Institute (UTI) reported a revenue decrease of 5.3 percent to $80.6 million for its third quarter, down from the prior year period at $85.2 million, stated a UTI press release.
A decline in average undergraduate student enrollment and an increase in need-based tuition scholarships contributed to UTI’s loss in revenue. The company saw an operating loss of $1.4 million compared to an operating income of $5.7 million during the same period last year.
Kimberly McWaters, president and CEO of UTI, says the institute is optimistic despite third-quarter results.
“Our key leading indicators of lead generation, student contracts and show rate continued to improve throughout this quarter, building upon the positive momentum gained last quarter,” she said in the release. “Our investment to drive this growth during a quarter in which our student population is traditionally at its lowest, adversely affected our financial results. We remain committed to our strategic plan that has led to these improvements. However, it will take time to fully realize the positive impact to our business.”


Sparta announces growth in online credit applications
Sparta Commercial Services Inc. says its relationship with an aggregator partner of online consumer credit applications has resulted in a much higher than anticipated volume of applications, according to MarketWatch.
The company says the applications have been processed by its iPLUS(R) credit decisioning engine during the last three months.
Anthony Havens, Sparta’s CEO, stated, “The significant increase in online consumer credit applications that Sparta is receiving validates our investment during the past three years in the development of our iPLUS(R) credit decisioning software. iPLUS(R) allows us, on a scalable basis, to process increased volumes of applications without a proportional increase in staffing levels and other operating costs.”
Havens says the increase in applications is a sign that despite the problems in other sectors of the credit market, consumer interest in acquiring powersports vehicles continues to grow.
“We attribute this, at least in part, to the growing number of people who are reacting to record high gas prices by choosing motorcycles or scooters as a much more economical way to meet their commuting and local travel needs,” he said.


Piaggio sold fewer vehicles in first half
The Piaggio Group reported fewer worldwide vehicles sales and a reduction in sales in its fiscal first half.
Worldwide, Piaggio sold 372,700 vehicles, a decrease of nearly 6 percent from the year-ago period. Figures for North America were not available, although Piaggio USA earlier this year reported record-breaking sales in May and June.
Worldwide sales amounted to $1.3 billion, a 7 percent decrease from a year ago. Piaggio said that revenue figure reflected the negative impact of approximately $27.8 million in the appreciation of the Euro against other currencies.
Piaggio’s net profit also fell, down slightly more than 8 percent to $69.4 million.
Looking ahead, Piaggio said its management will continue to focus on containing costs and raising productivity. The company expects substantial growth to occur outside of Europe.
In its first-half report, Piaggio also announced its board of directors has approved a plan to merge Moto Guzzi within Piaggio. The move is expected to improve Moto Guzzi’s competitiveness in the international market.


CFMOTO, Sheffield Financial offer new financing options
CFMOTO Powersports has partnered with Sheffield Financial Corp. to provide its dealer network with a new option for retail financing on all CFMOTO products. This will include ATVs, automatic motorcycles and scooters. “Consumers as well as dealers are very excited about our new arrangement with Sheffield Financial,” said Ivan Escalante, sales manager for CFMOTO Powersports.
As part of the promotion, Sheffield and participating CFMOTO Powersports dealers will be offering financing packages with 90 days deferred interest and with no down payment. During this promotion, consumers will be able to purchase the new E-charm 150 EFI, CFMOTO’s first fuel-injected scooter, as well as many other models that complement the lineup.

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