Winnebago posts higher-than-expected profit; shares rise


CHICAGO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Winnebago Industries Inc, the No. 1 U.S. motor-home manufacturer, reported astronger-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday and said itsbacklog continued to grow due to rebounding demand from bothdealers and consumers.

Its shares rose more than 4 percent in premarket trading onthe news.

The company, small but closely watched because of the viewit provides on spending on big-ticket discretionary items, saidits sales order backlog grew for the sixth consecutive quarter -a reflection of dealer optimism about the economic recovery.

Winnebago reported a profit of $10.6 million, or 38 cents ashare, for the fourth quarter ended on Aug. 31, compared with$40.9 million, or $1.41 a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected earnings of 28 cents a share,according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Excluding a year-earliernoncash tax item, Winnebago's profit more than doubled from 14cents a share.

Sales rose 32 percent to $214.2 million, while analysts hadforecast $208 million.

In a statement, Chief Executive Officer Randy Potts saiddeliveries to Winnebago's network of independent dealers werestrong and that consumer demand had increased for the company'sRVs, which range in price from about $65,000 to more than$300,000.

In trading before the market opened, shares of Forest City,Iowa-based Winnebago were up 4.1 percent at $28.40.


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