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Mar. 9, 2009 – Finance Digest

March 9, 2009
Filed under Features

Kawasaki’s sales fall 9% in first 3 quarters
Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), the parent company of Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., reported a 9 percent decline in sales for its three quarters of its fiscal year compared to the year-ago period.
KHI’s sales totaled $10.4 billion through its first nine months, which ended Dec. 31.
The company’s net income fell 74 percent to $81.9 million vs. the prior year period.
KHI’s consumer products and machinery division, which includes powersports vehicles, reported a 19 percent decline in sales to $2.7 billion. KHI does not report how that division fared in North America.
KHI’s total sales in North America for its first three quarters in all of its divisions totaled $2.3 billion. North America represents KHI’s biggest overseas market, with 22.6 percent of its overseas sales coming from there.


Harley moves to create more financial services funding
Harley-Davidson priced an offering of $600 million of its senior unsecured notes to help fund Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS), reported the company. Securing additional funding for HDFS is part of the company’s three-part strategy to address the current economic challenges.
Davis Selected Advisers, L.P., a long-time investor in Harley-Davidson, and Berkshire Hathaway will purchase equal portions of the aggregate principal amount of the notes. The offering is being made under the company’s existing shelf registration for public offerings of securities, including debt. The notes will be due in 2014 and will bear interest at a rate of 15 percent per year.
“This offering represents an important next step in executing our stated strategy for funding the lending activities of HDFS,” Tom Bergmann, H-D CFO and interim president of HDFS, said in a press release.


Bridgestone’s year-end sales decline 5 percent
Although its total sales slumped, Bridgestone Corp. says it realized its goal of becoming the world’s No. 1 tire and rubber company.
Bridgestone’s year-end sales total $35.5 billion, a decrease of 5 percent compared to the prior year, the company reported. The sales drop was partially due to the exchange impact of the stronger Japanese yen and a decline in unit sales.
The company also says that although raw material prices decreased in the second half, prices were generally high for the full fiscal year.
The company’s net income fell 92 percent vs. 2007 to $114 million.
In its “Americas” segment, Bridegestone’s sales were down 6 percent to $15.6 billion. Sales also declined in Europe, which was down 8 percent to $5.2 billion.
Strong sales were reported in China and the rest of Asia, where sales increased 9 percent to $6.6 billion. Bridgestone says it expects its unit sales of tires in North America to decline in 2009.


Vectrix to offer consumer financing through Sparta
Vectrix Corp. signed an agreement with Sparta Commercial Services to offer consumer financing for its three models, the company reported.
Sparta will make it easier for consumers to own a Vectrix, says Vectrix CEO Mike Boyle.
“We already have the largest nationwide dealer network of any electric vehicle manufacturer and offer the only true product family of electric road vehicles,” he said in the release. “With consumer financing in place, we are well positioned to continue our growth and make Vectrix available to more and more people.”
Anthony Havens, Sparta president and CEO, added in the release, “This first-ever program places Sparta at the front of the electric conversion revolution. We have a corporate commitment to provide financing that encourages advanced, entrepreneurial technologies and products that promote an improving environment. We look forward to working with Vectrix and its dealer organization in launching this exciting new program.”
This spring, Vectrix will introduce two new models, the VX-1E and the VX-2, both with lower prices designed to appeal to a larger demographic.


Carlisle’s fourth-quarter profit plunges
Carlisle Companies reported a 68 percent drop in its fourth-quarter profit.
The company earned $13.7 million compared to $42.9 million during the previous year period.
David Roberts, Carlisle’s CEO said in a press release, “2008 was a very challenging year as we faced unprecedented raw material cost increases that we were never able to completely offset with productivity improvements and price increases. Consequently, our profitability suffered in a record sales year.”
The company’s fourth-quarter net sales were down 1 percent from the prior year period. The company’s cash flow from operations of $132.1 million was up 6 percent compared to 2007’s fourth quarter. Carlisle’s full-year cash flow from operations was at an all-time record debt. It was $274.2 million, which was reduced by $173.9 million during the fourth quarter.


ArvinMeritor takes large first-quarter loss
ArvinMeritor’s fiscal first-quarter loss reached nearly $1 billion on lower sales and one-time charges, according to the Associated Press.
The quarter ended with a loss of $991 million compared to a loss of $12 million during the prior year period. Sales also dropped 18 percent to $1.37 billion, down from $1.66 billion in 2008. The latest results included non-cash charges totaling $944 million related to valuation reserves for certain deferred tax assets and other asset impairments.

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