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February 6, 2017 2:00 AM, EST

Profits Mixed for Trucking Suppliers Wabash, Eaton, Meritor and Arconic

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

This story appears in the Feb. 6 print edition of Transport Topics.

Three commercial vehicle suppliers and a trailer manufacturer posted, in most cases, lower but still positive earnings in their latest reports.

For Wabash National Corp., the largest trailer maker in North America, fourth-quarter profits and revenue slipped compared with the 2015 period. Net income, however, rose for the full year on lower revenue, Wabash reported Jan. 31.

Net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 was $23 million, or 36 cents per diluted share, compared with $33.3 million, or 50 cents, a year earlier, the Lafayette, Indiana-based company reported.

Revenue fell to $462 million, down 15% compared with the 2015 period, Wabash said.

New van trailers shipped in the quarter fell to 14,600, down 10% from 16,200 in the 2015 period. Year-to-date shipments fell to 58,850 from 61,300 a year earlier.

“New trailer shipments of 60,950 [including 2,100 tank trailers] for the year exceeded our previous guidance, driven by strong customer pickup. We enter 2017 with a strong backlog of orders totaling $802 million, an increase of 25% compared with the previous quarter,” CEO Dick Giromini said in a statement.

For the full year, net income climbed to $119.4 million, or $1.82, on sales of $1.85 billion. That compared with $104.3 million, or $1.50, on sales of $2.03 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2015, Wabash said.

Eaton Corp. reported net income and revenue slipped for the fourth quarter and the full year as performance declined sharply at its vehicle segment.

Total net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 dipped 5% to $508 million, or $1.12 in diluted earnings per share, compared with $532 million, or $1.15, year-over-year.

Eaton’s revenue was $4.8 billion, down 4% compared with $5 billion a year earlier.

The vehicle segment posted sales of $741 million, down $100 million, or 12%, from the fourth quarter of 2015, due entirely to a decline in organic sales, Dublin-based Eaton said Feb. 2.

Eaton forecast North American Class 8 production in 2017 to be flat — about 228,000 units. Eaton’s regional headquarters for North America is in Cleveland.

Year-to-date, net income fell to $1.92 billion, or $4.21, compared with $1.98 billion, or $4.23, in the 2015 period. Revenue was $19.7 billion, down from $20.8 billion in the 2015 period.

Meanwhile, Meritor Inc. reported lower fiscal first-quarter income and revenue as North American Class 8 production tailed off, the company said Feb. 1.

Net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 declined to $16 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, compared with $27 million, or 28 cents, in the same period of 2015.

Revenue of $699 million was down $110 million, or 14%, year-over-year, the Troy, Michigan-based company said Feb. 1.

Its commercial truck and industrial unit sales slipped to $539 million, down $94 million compared with the year-ago period.

Its aftermarket and trailer business posted sales of $184 million, down $19 million from the same period a year ago, primarily due to lower volumes across the segment, the company said.

Intersegment sales were a net loss of $24 million, the company said.

Aluminum parts supplier Arconic Inc. reported a net loss and flat revenue for the fourth quarter and similar results for the full-year period as the company began to operate as a stand-alone entity.

On Nov. 1, Alcoa Inc. separated into two stand-alone companies: Arconic Inc. — the new name for Alcoa Inc.— and Alcoa Corp., Arconic said. Arconic’s earnings include one month of Alcoa Corp. for fourth quarter 2016 and 10 months of Alcoa Corp. for full-year 2016.

It posted a net loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31 of $1.2 billion, or $2.88 per share, compared with a loss of $765 million, or $1.64 a year earlier, the New York-based company said.

Revenue in the quarter was flat at $3 billion year-over-year.

Year-to-date, its net loss increased to $868 billion, or $2.28, compared with a loss of $197 million, or 93 cents, in the 2015 period.

Annual revenue dipped to $12.39 billion, down from $12.41 billion in the 2015 period.

The company, which supplies the commercial truck market with aluminum wheels, truck cabs and frames, said it was affected by lower heavy-duty volumes in North America.

Separately, Arconic’s board announced Jan. 31 it unanimously supports Klaus Kleinfeld as chairman and CEO, in response to the continuing effort by hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. — Arconic’s largest stockholder, with 10.5% of shares outstanding — to oust Kleinfeld from the company, given its performance.