February 6, 2013 8:40 AM, EST
Wabash National’s 4Q Income Improves
Bruce Harmon/Trans Pixs

Trailer manufacturer Wabash National Corp’s fourth-quarter income improved from a year ago, and its operating profit tripled.

Net income — which included a $59 million income tax benefit — jumped to $80.2 million, or $1.16 per share, from $7.5 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier.

Income from operations rose to a record $29.2 million from $8.4 million a year earlier, while sales rose to $416 million from $342 million, the company said late Tuesday.

Operating earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization — excluding certain costs related to its acquisition of Walker Group Holdings last year and its recent purchase of Beall Corp. assets —  rose to $38.8 million in the quarter, from $13.7 million a year earlier.

For the full year, Wabash’s net income jumped to $105.6 million, or $1.53 per share, from $15 million, or 22 cents, in 2011. Sales rose to $1.46 billion from $1.19 billion.

The full-year results included a charge of $18.2 million, or 27 cents per share, related to the Walker acquisition.

Fourth-quarter commercial trailer product net sales fell 16% to $258 million as trailers shipped fell by 3,400 units to 10,200. But the company said that due to its efforts to recover material cost increases through improved product pricing, average selling prices rose by 10.7%.

Its new trailer shipments of 45,600 for the year were slightly below its prior guidance of 46,000 to 48,000 units, CEO Dick Giromini said, but he added that was “partially mitigated by the continued strong demand for our non-trailer products during the quarter.”

Wabash entered 2013 “with a healthy backlog of orders totaling $666 million, a trailer demand forecast above replacement levels for the second consecutive year driven by . . . fleet age and size, customer profitability, used trailer values and regulatory compliance,” Giromini said in a statement.