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Elkhart-based Forest River sees strong income in first half of 2013

A look at the latest quarterly report by Berkshire Hathaway shows that while they do not give detailed numbers on subsidiary Forest River, the Elkhart-based RV giant is having a very good year.

Posted on Aug. 5, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Aug. 5, 2013 at 12:18 p.m.

ELKHART — The first half of 2013 was a very good period for the recreational vehicle industry as a whole, but it was even better for Elkhart-based Forest River, one of the largest RV manufacturers in North America.

While the RV industry was up 12.8 percent in the first half of 2013 compared to the first half of 2012, Forest River’s income was up 22 percent in the first half of the year.

That’s one of the scant details made public about the RV giant’s operations when parent company Berkshire Hathaway filed its quarterly financial report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Over the first six months of 2013, Forest River generated a 22% increase in revenues due to increased volume and average sales prices,” the company reported in the filing.

Forest River and Berkshire Hathaway’s building products businesses generated higher earnings in the first half of this year than last year.

The company is only mentioned three times in the 40-page SEC filing, since Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t report detailed figures on any of its subsidiaries. It’s impossible to figure out Forest River’s sales numbers from the report, since its figures are lumped in with companies like Fruit of the Loom, Milford-based CTB (Chore Time-Brock), a chemical corporation, a metalworking company and five building products companies.

According to company founder and CEO Pete Liegl, last year Forest River was the single largest manufacturer of motorhomes, though competitor Winnebago was the biggest motorhome brand.

The motorhome segment is the fastest growing part of the RV market right now, with the more expensive motorhomes growing by 33.3 percent in the first half of this year, compared to 10.7 percent for the larger towable market, according to figures released late last month by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, which tracks wholesale shipments.

One of Forest River’s subsidiaries, Prime Time Manufacturing, is expanding into the Wakarusa campus Utilimaster is vacating to keep up with Prime Time’s growth.




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