Gehl Co. Swings to Profit From Loss

Mon February 23, 2004 - National Edition

WEST BEND, WI (AP)Gehl Co. swung to a profit during the fourth quarter from a loss in the same period the previous year, although results in both quarters were affected by one-time items.

Net income in the latest quarter was $784,000 or 14 cents a share, including a tax credit of 7 cents a share and a charge of 1 cent for plant closures.

The loss in the same quarter a year earlier was $304,000 or 6 cents, including a charge of 3 cents for plant closures.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 8 cents a share versus a loss of 3 cents.

Sales rose 11 percent to $56.9 million from $51.2 million.

The company said demand for compact construction equipment is expected to increase 5 to 7 percent in 2004, while demand for agricultural implements is expected to be flat.

Based on the current market outlook, the company expects sales to increase 8 to 10 percent in both segments. It said it expects operating margins to improve because of continued initiatives to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, higher production levels, a more favorable mix of product shipments and improved prices.