HomeManufacturingBlue Bird Says Q1 Earnings Indicate Modest Growth Ahead

Blue Bird Says Q1 Earnings Indicate Modest Growth Ahead

Despite what he referred to as the softest quarter of the fiscal year, Blue Bird President and CEO Phil Horlock reported a 4 percent increase in total net sales to reaffirm full-year guidance of expected fiscal-year net sales between $980 million and $1 billion.

Last year, Blue Bird reported $932 million in net sales. The company’s FY 2017 guidance indicates Adjusted EBITDA of $72 to $76, compared to $72 last year. Adjusted Free Cash Flow is expected to be $38 to $42, compared to $33 for FY 2016.

Horlock said during an earnings call Thursday that unit sales are on track to increase by 6 to 8 percent due largely to an increasing demand for alternative fuel buses.

First-quarter net sales were up $5.3 million to $136.7 million, with bus sales responsible for $122.4 million, an increase of $3.9 million. Net part sales for the first quarter were up $1.4 million to $14.3 million. But gross profit came in at $18.2 million, down $600,000 from last year.

Blue Bird sold 1,493 buses, a 6 percent increase over Q1 2016, with alternative-fuel buses accounting for 23 percent of total bus sales. He added on Thursday that year-to-date orders of the company’s propane-powered buses are up 29 percent over last year.

The company is on track to sell over 3,000 total alternative-fuel buses this year, which include the Vision Propane, the new Vision CNG that launched last summer, and the All-American CNG. Blue Bird cited statistics from R.L. Polk that it holds more than 80 percent market share of the school bus alternative-fuel registrations since FY 2010.

Blue Bird announced last month it received a $4.4-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a zero-emissions, electric-powered school bus that could fund school districts through Vehicle-to-Grid technology.

Blue Bird did report a first quarter loss of $8.4 million from continuing operations, down $6.1 million from last year.

The company attributed the decline mostly to customer orders and engineering expenses.

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