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HARLEY-DAVIDSON: SAFELY BACK IN THE BLACK

Surprise Q4 profitability, shrugging off analyst expectations of a loss in the final quarter, was icing on the cake for Harley-Davidson’s successful year of recovery. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Overall full-year 2021 turnover grew by 31.6% to £3.927bn. Within that, sales revenue from motorcycles and related products was 39.1% up to £3.341bn. Revenue from the company’s HDFS consumer credit and dealer inventory funding arm added 0.7% to £586.2m.

Operating profit from motorcycles and related products amounted to £300.8m, bouncing back from a loss of £137m in the previous blighted year. HDFS operating profit rose by 111.9% to £305.5m. Combined operating profit, of which HDFS was the marginally largest contributor, stood at £606.3m — recovering from a mere £7.1m. Net profit climbed to £478.7m from a gestural £956,000 in 2020.

Harley-Davidson said this performance turnaround was underpinned by exit from “unprofitable product segments and markets” in its results presentation.

Wholesale shipments worldwide during the year were 29.8% higher at 188,494 motorcycles. Of these, 119,909 went to US dealers, a 50.4% increase and an indicator of growing reliance on the brand’s domestic market.

Touring products dominated, 53.2% up to 93,961. Cruisers grew by 19% to 59,494. But Sportster/Street copped a 26% decline to 25,123. Harley’s debut in the highly bankable Adventure slot was represented by 9916 samples of the Pan America 1250 model shipped.

Global retail sales posted a 7.8% annual increase to 194,256. US consumption led the way, 21.8% up to 126,276. Canada was also positive, improving by 25.6% to 8137. But the EMEA region — mainly Europe — sank by 15.7% to 31,101. Asia Pacific was 7.8% down at 25,090. Latin America plunged by 39.1% to 3652.

$-£ currency translation at forex rates applicable on 9 February   

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