Sunday, April 21, 2024


Full-year results for US powersports giant Polaris, which majors on off-road vehicle (ORV) domination but also makes motorcycles, were a grim testament to the Covid pandemic’s impact through 2020. However, they would have been much worse without a truly sensational recovery in the fourth quarter. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Annual revenue actually rose, 3.6% higher at £5.117bn. But operating profit sank by 56.1% to £154.6m. And net profit plunged by 61.4% to a mere £90.9m.

Q4 figures were spectacularly different. In the year’s final three months, Polaris revenue stacked on 24.2% to £1.57bn. The core ORV segment (including snowmobiles) accounted for £1.068bn of that, rising by 28.8%.  Motorcycles — Indian cruisers and Slingshot trikes — contributed £107m, a 22.5% improvement. Associated operating profit went ballistic, 92.7% up at £191.3m. Net profit doubled, a 100.8% increase to £144.7m.

Although Polaris is always cagey about volume figures, it said North America retail sales of both ORVs and the motorcycle brands grew by roughly a third in the quarter. Effectively, without this surge in latent demand, the company’s yearly bottom line would have been written in red ink.


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