Harley-Davidson is scheduled to release an official first-quarter 2012 earnings report today, and according to leaked reports from the Motor Company’s HQ, the news will be very good indeed.
Harley-Davidson, that’s HOG on the big board to you, may have lost Willie G. Davidson, grandson of founder of William A. Davidson, to retirement after 49 years on the job, but the rest of the news is good.
After weathering a couple of tough years which saw the company cut its hourly workforce and shut down a plant in Wisconsin, Harley-Davidson managed to expand the reach of its iconic branded products beyond the middle-class bikers they relied on and forged new inroads into international retail sales . As a result, H-D forecasts that more than 40% of its retail sales will now come from outside the United States by the year 2014.
Analysts are predicting that Harley-Davidson will report per-share earnings of $0.72 for the first quarter of 2012 on revenue of $1.2 billion. During the same quarter of last year? While the results were not as stellar, the company did report $0.51 per share and $1.1 billion in sales. Harley-Davidson officials attribute the sales increase to improved consumer confidence in the U.S.
On the other hand, the company says its 2012 sales are likely to be affected by the current economic uncertainty in European markets.
The Motor Company says retail sales of its motorcycles in the United States rose 25.5 percent in the first quarter, and that information comes from a filing the company made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week and following on the heels of a research update from the Motorcycle Industry Council was leaked to the public. Harley-Davidson says the Motorcycle Industry Council, based in Irvine, Calif., released the report to members “subject to terms of applicable restricted use agreements.”
“The company learned that one of the members of the Motorcycle Industry Council, in apparent violation of those terms, disclosed information in a research update, presumably based on the contents of the Motorcycle Industry Council report,” said a Harley-Davidson spokesperson.
The MIC’s membership is made up of distributors and manufacturers of motorcycles, scooters and all-terrain vehicles and makers and distributors of parts, accessories, and apparel for the motorcycle market.
At any rate, this kind of news is the sort H-D shouldn’t mind seeing leaked to the public and bodes well for the company’s fortunes in what is generally thought to be a down market.