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RV woes: Thor Industries profit plunges

/ Source: staff and news service reports

Recreational vehicle and bus maker Thor Industries Inc. on Wednesday reported a 92 percent drop in third-quarter profit as its RV sales were nearly cut in half and the company incurred some one-time charges.

For the period ended April 30, Thor earned $2.1 million, or 4 cents per share, down from $27.9 million, or 50 cents per share, last year.

Excluding a $9.7 million RV non-cash goodwill impairment charge and a one time $4.7 million increase in bus self insurance and other reserves, per share earnings would have been about 30 cents.

Revenue fell 41 percent to $415.5 million from $707.9 million last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, were expecting earnings of 10 cents per share on $415.1 million in revenue.

RV sales dropped 49.6 percent to $312 million while bus sales fell 3 percent to $103.4 million.

The RV industry has taken a sharp blow from rising gas prices, the deep recession, sinking housing values and tighter credit.

The wallop has fallen particularly hard on communities that relied heavily on RV manufacturing, such as Elkhart, Ind., the "RV capital of the world." Elkhart's unemployment rate of 17.8 percent in April is one of the highest in the nation, according to the latest Labor Department data for jobless rates in municipalities.