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by Motorcycle.com Staff

H-D First Quarter for 2004

By George Obradovich, Apr. 16, 2004
From a press release issued by Harley-Davidson:


Milwaukee, Wis., April 14, 2004 -- Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HDI) today announced record revenue and earnings for its first quarter ended March 28, 2004. Revenue for the quarter was $1.17 billion compared with $1.11 billion in the year-ago quarter, a 4.7 percent increase. First quarter diluted earnings per share (EPS) was 68 cents, an 11.5 percent increase compared with last years 61 cents.

Harley-Davidsons first quarter performance clearly demonstrates that the Company is on track to deliver both the short and long-term performance objectives which we established earlier this year, said Jeffrey L. Bleustein, chairman and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc.

By almost any measure, we are off to a very strong start in 2004 continuing the momentum of our 100th Anniversary. We delivered solid financial performance this quarter, and our U.S. dealer network posted the highest first quarter retail sales for Harley-Davidson motorcycles in its history - 13 percent ahead of last year. In addition, we achieved our first quarter motorcycle production target, setting the pace to reach our goal of 317,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles by year-end.

The Companys continuing strong performance supports our longer-range objectives to satisfy demand for 400,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in 2007 and to deliver an annual earnings growth rate in the mid-teens. Harley-Davidsons Board of Directors demonstrated their confidence in our stated direction by approving the repurchase of 7.8 million shares of stock during the quarter, said Bleustein.

Motorcycles and Related Products Segment

First quarter revenue from Harley-Davidson motorcycles was $919 million, an increase of 4.8 percent over the first quarter last year. Shipments of Harley-Davidson motorcycles totaled 74,090, up 3,482 units or 4.9 percent over last year.

First quarter revenue from Parts and Accessories (P&A), which consists of Genuine Motor Parts and Genuine Motor Accessories, totaled $169 million, a 5.8 percent increase over the year-ago quarter. When revenue from 100th Anniversary P&A products sold during the first quarter of 2003 is excluded, P&A revenue would have been up 15.9 percent. For the longer term, the Company expects P&A revenue to grow at a rate slightly faster than the motorcycle unit growth rate.

General Merchandise, which consists of MotorClothes® apparel and collectibles, had first quarter revenue of $54 million, down 3.7 percent over the same period last year. When revenue from 100th Anniversary General Merchandise products shipped in the first quarter of 2003 is excluded, General Merchandise revenue would have been up 12.7 percent. For the longer term, the Company expects General Merchandise to grow at a rate lower than the motorcycle unit growth rate.

First quarter gross margin for the Motorcycles and Related Products Segment was 37.8 percent of revenue compared to 36.2 percent in the first quarter of last year. First quarter gross margin was favorably impacted primarily by foreign currency exchange rates and to a lesser extent by operating efficiencies. Consistent with the higher gross margin, operating margin increased from 21.5 percent in 2003 to 22.9 percent in 2004.

Motorcycle Retail Sales Data

Harley-Davidson retail motorcycle sales for the quarter were up 11.6 percent worldwide driven by strong performance in the U.S. which was up 13.0 percent.
Financial Services Segment

Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Inc. (HDFS), a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson, Inc., reported operating income of $50 million, up $7 million compared to the year-ago quarter, or 16.0 percent. The subsidiary continued to experience strong customer acceptance of its finance and insurance products.

HDFS sold $625 million in retail motorcycle loans during the quarter and recorded a gain of $25.2 million. This compares with a gain of $26.4 million on $550 million of loans securitized during the first quarter of 2003. The gain as a percentage of loans sold is within managements expectations of 3 to 4 percent in the current interest rate environment.

Annualized credit losses on a managed portfolio basis decreased during the quarter from 0.84 percent in 2003 to 0.77 percent in 2004.

For the longer term, the Company expects the HDFS operating income growth rate to be slightly higher than the Companys motorcycle unit growth rate.

Cash Flow

Operations generated cash of more than $350 million during the quarter. The Company invested $31 million in capital expenditures, paid a dividend of $24 million and repurchased 7.8 million shares of its common stock for a total cost of $404 million.
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