Navistar reports loss but in rebounding market

LISLE, ILL–Navistar International Corp–the makers of International trucks–posted a quarterly loss this week compared with a year-ago profit, partly due to a $60-million charge related to used-truck inventories. The company said however it expected overall market conditions to improve in the second half of the fiscal.

The less-than-ideal results, however, come at the same time as the truck-manufacturing business is seeing an uptick in orders.

The orders had been declining as trucking companies adjusted their fleets amid lackluster retail sales and industrial output in the United States.

Orders for class-8 trucks in the U.S. soared 77% in April versus the same period a year earlier, according to data from transportation consultant FTR & Associates. The truck and engine maker’s shares were down 1.5 percent at $29.47 on Wednesday.

Revenue in Navistar’s truck business, its biggest sector, fell 5.5% to US$1.40 billion in the second quarter ending April 30.  “At this point in time, we are confident we can deliver year-over-year improvement,” Chief Executive Troy Clarke said.

Navistar reaffirmed its revenue and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) forecast for the year and said it expected a stronger second half as its turnaround efforts start to pay off.  The Lisle, Illinois-based company, which was once a leading maker of truck engines, is still in the process of turning itself around after making a disastrous bet on a costly and unsuccessful emission system that did not meet regulatory standards.

The company, which also makes school buses, has changed management, cut costs and redesigned its products, in a move to return to profitability. 

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