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November 1, 2017 2:00 PM, EDT
Wabash 3Q Net Income, Revenue Fall Against Prior-Year Record Performance
Wabash Factory Worker Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Trailer maker Wabash National Corp. reported net income and revenue dropped in the third quarter compared with the company’s record-setting third quarter in 2016.

Net income for the period ended Sept. 30 fell 43% to $18.9 million, or 30 cents per share, compared with $33.4 million, or 51 cents, in the 2016 period.

Revenue fell 8% to $425 million compared with $464 million in the third quarter of 2016. 

“Following prior-year record performance is never easy, especially when operating in a somewhat more challenging environment. Throw in an acquisition, and the headlines get even more muddied. That said, we are nonetheless pleased to have delivered a historically solid performance in the third quarter, but not up to the lofty standards that we have become accustomed to in the past couple years,” Wabash CEO Dick Giromini said in a statement.

He cited a range of limiting factors in the third quarter, stating, “shipment pick-up delays impacted by the recent hurricanes, ongoing investment in our molded structural composites start-up and a tighter labor market and costs associated with our acquisition of Supreme Industries Inc. all combined to create a veil over all of the good things that are going on in the business that set us up for a strong 2018.”

Wabash has a backlog of $670 million for trailers. Supreme has a backlog of $70 million for medium-duty truck bodies, a 32% increase as compared with the prior-year period, as demand for e-commerce deliveries continues to grow.

Demand for dry vans is expected to remain strong in 2018 and be much improved for tank trailers and flatbed equipment, according to the Lafayette, Ind.-based company.

Also, dry vans bought in the 2004 to 2006 period are coming due for replacement, and “a more stringent regulatory environment is influencing both carrier and driver behaviors and the continued need to refresh equipment,” he said.

The company expects to ship 53,500 to 55,500 trailers in 2017. It has shipped 37,300 in the first nine months of this year, including 13,350 in the third quarter.

Wabash projected earnings in 2017 would range from $1.33 to $1.37 per share, and increase to between $1.55 to $1.75 per share in 2018.