Randy Potts

Randy Potts

file photo

FOREST CITY — A sign that Winnebago Industries had a good third quarter in fiscal year 2012 is in the numbers. And regionally, that’s in employment numbers.

The motor home manufacturer needs to hire about 200 employees to add to its workforce of about 2,000, Randy Potts, Winnebago’s chief executive officer, president and chairman of the board, said Thursday after the third quarter fiscal year 2012 report was released.

“Most of our people are working 40 hours a week and a majority are on overtime now,” Potts said.

The overtime and the need to hire more employees is tied to the company’s performance in the third quarter, he said. The quarter ended May 26.

Winnebago, the motor home manufacturer based in Forest City, saw its revenue increase by 14.9 percent to $155.7 million compared to $135.6 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2011.

The company posted an operating profit of $3.5 million for the third quarter this year, compared to a operating profit of $538,000 for the third quarter last fiscal year.

The net income was $3.9 million for the current third quarter, compared to $1.2 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2011.

“I believe we are seeing some positive signs,” Potts said of an industry that has struggled during the recession of the past five years.

Motor home sales were strong in several areas, Potts and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Sarah Nielsen said during a conference call.

The company had a mix of higher-priced products sold, more towable products sold and overall increase in selling price, Nielsen said.

Winnebago did well in Class A diesel and Class A gas models, the models which typically sell at higher prices, Potts said.

Towables, made at the SunnyBrook plant in Indiana, also recorded the first full quarter of profitability, Potts said. Winnebago bought the towable plant in December of 2010 and manufactures SunnyBrook and Winnebago models.

The company also completed a dealer days event in Las Vegas where orders were good, Potts said.

He said the event was also a chance to send a message to dealers and the industry: “We are not going to sit still,” Potts said.

“The last four years have been spent surviving. They truly have,” Potts said.

Decisions were made to make the company more efficient to allow it to handle the recession, Potts said.

But now, he said, he’s focused on “looking past that. It’s time to turn the page,” Potts said.

Winnebago Industries needs to continue to improve its models with the goal to grow and gain market share in motor homes and towables, Potts said.

Rae Yost is editor of the Forest City Summit and Britt News-Tribune, also Lee Enterprises newspapers.


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