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Monday, March 27, 2023

It By no means Appears to Get Higher for Harley-Davidson

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Harley-Davidson, which makes bikes, has been, for the previous a number of years, making an attempt to alter itself into an organization with a long-term future. Or, at the least, not an organization that primarily sells V-twin-powered heavy bikes to an ageing inhabitants. On this regard, there was each good and dangerous information on Thursday, when Harley introduced its fourth-quarter 2022 earnings outcomes.

The excellent news is that Harley took in $1.14 billion in income, which was greater than analysts have been anticipating, based on The Wall Road Journal, which in flip in all probability had so much to do with Harley’s inventory worth going up greater than 10 p.c at this time. Harley additionally mentioned it had internet earnings attributable to Harley of $42 million, a determine that the WSJ mentioned was greater than analysts anticipated as nicely. (Who’re Wall Road analysts and why do publications like The Wall Road Journal place a lot weight on their opinions? I concern you’ve requested one query too many, good friend.)

“As we conclude the second yr of the Hardwire, Harley-Davidson delivered a robust end to the yr, with strong execution of our strategic pillars,” is what Harley CEO Jochen Zeitz mentioned in an announcement. (What’s the Hardwire? It’s one thing like, uh, “do higher.”)

The dangerous information is that LiveWire, Harley’s electrical motorbike division which it truly spun into a brand new firm to go public by SPAC final yr, is doing dangerous. Harley, for one, says it expects LiveWire to lose as much as $125 million this yr. Harley additionally mentioned that LiveWire offered simply 69 bikes within the fourth-quarter of 2022, a quantity that I initially thought was a typo. It says for 2023 it hopes to have as much as 2,000 electrical items.

For context, Harley mentioned it offered round 19,200 inside combustion bikes within the fourth quarter in North America, with complete items offered in 2022 down 12 p.c from 2021, to 117,100, and gross sales have been flat globally. Harley blamed a part of their troubles on final yr’s manufacturing shutdown, which is sensible.

Harley also said that they would be reporting LiveWire results separately from Harley results, even though Harley has an equity interest of 89.4 percent in LiveWire. That will at least make it easier to see which parts of the company are working or not, but a part of me wonders if Harley is really looking forward to reporting that LiveWire is selling dozens of electric motorcycles each quarter. Just dozens, I say.

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