November 25, 2008 / 2:03 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Fleetwood 2nd-qtr loss is wider than expected

* Loss of 59c/shr vs. expectation of loss of 44 cents

* Sales slump 54 percent to $216 mln

* Says market conditions won’t improve in near term

NEW YORK, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Fleetwood Enterprises Inc FLE.N, a U.S. maker of recreational vehicles and manufactured homes, reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss on Tuesday amid a consumer pullback and a credit crunch, and said not to expect a recovery in its industry in the near term.

Fleetwood posted a net loss of $56.7 million, or 74 cents per share, in the fiscal second quarter ended Oct 26, compared with a net loss of $1.2 million, or 2 cents per share a year earlier.

Excluding restructuring charges and asset write-downs, its loss of 59 cents per share was wider than the 44 cents analysts had expected, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue fell 54 percent to $216.4 million, below Wall Street forecasts for sales of $283 million. Sales declines were steepest in Fleetwood’s recreational vehicle (RV) segment as demand fell off and dealers cut inventory despite discounts.

“Consumers are hesitant to spend given current economic circumstances, and at the same time those that wish to buy are having extraordinary difficulty obtaining loans to finance our products,” Chief Executive Elden Smith said in a statement. “We do not expect market conditions to improve in the near future.”

The Riverside, California-based company said it expects to post operating losses for the balance of its fiscal year, but aimed for break-even results by the fiscal first quarter of 2010, in part because of capacity cuts.

Fleetwood said this week it would close five of its manufactured housing plants and two travel trailer plants. A modular housing plant will also be closed.

It will have 13 housing plants and three travel trailer plants remaining. Most of the jobs in the affected plants will be permanently lost, the company said.

Reporting by Nick Zieminski, editing by Dave Zimmerman

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