ELKHART, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Elkhart-based THOR Industries Inc. (NYSE: THO) is reporting first quarter net income of $244 million, compared to $115 million during the same period a year ago. Also during the quarter, the recreational vehicle maker acquired Elkhart Composites Inc., a manufacturer of proprietary polypropylene material used for RV sidewalls, through Thor subsidiary, Airxcel Inc.
Thor says the purchase of the company and its “Elkboard” brand name will allow the RV industry to reduce its dependence on lauan-based sidewalls. Lauan wood is sourced from tropical hardwoods forests.
“As the recent supply-chain constraints have demonstrated, sourcing such materials from the other side of the world can no longer be taken for granted and our ability to quality-control lauan product is severely limited. Elkboard, on the other hand, is sustainable, and is fabricated locally,” said Bob Martin, THOR president and chief executive officer.
Martin says using Elkboard allows for greater quality consistency than lauan. Thor expects it will be able to use the product in other aspects of RV production.
“As the demand for the Elkboard product began to outpace my ability to produce it, I began looking for the right partner to assist in expanding the production and utilization of Elkboard. While I had numerous suitors, THOR and Airxcel were the most natural fit,” said John Petrofsky, Elkhart Composites’ president and CEO.
Meanwhile, Martin says first quarter financial and operational performance was a “phenomenal start” to fiscal year 2022. The company reported Q1 net sales of nearly $4 billion, an increase of 56% compared to the first quarter of the previous year.
Thor says market demand has led to a global order backlog of more than $18 billion, “reaffirming our view that the dealer restocking process will still take a number of quarters to complete and could possibly extend into calendar 2023,” said Martin. “Independent dealer sentiment remains positive and consumer demand for our RV products remains strong.”
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