Rush Enterprises, Inc. ( RUSHB)

Q3 2010 Earnings Call

October 21, 2010 11:00 am ET

Executives

Rusty Rush - President and CEO

Marty Naegelin - EVP

Steve Keller - VP and CFO

Jay Hazelwood - Controller

Derrek Weaver - VP and General Counsel

Analysts

John Barnes - RBC Capital Markets

Tim Denoyer - Wolfe Trahan

Chaz Jones - Morgan Keegan

Brian Sponheimer - Gabelli & Co.

Robert Kosowsky - Sidoti & Company

Barry Haimes - Sage Asset Management

Bill Armstrong - C.L. King & Associates

Tom Albrecht - BB&T

Chase Becker - Credit Suisse

Jack Waldo - Stephens Inc

Presentation

Operator

Welcome to the Rush Enterprises Third Quarter 2010 Earnings Release Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to introduce your host for today’s conference Rusty Rush, President and CEO.

Rusty Rush

Good morning and welcome to our third quarter earnings release conference call. On the call with me today are Marty Naegelin, Executive Vice President; Steve Keller, Vice President and CFO; Jay Hazelwood, Controller of Rush Enterprises and Derrek Weaver, our General Counsel.

Now, Steve Keller will say a few words regarding forward-looking statements.

Steve Keller

Certain statements we will make today are considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. As these statements include risks and uncertainties, our actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Now and update for the third quarter. We are very pleased report the strongest quarter of financial performance since the recent downturn began. Our truck dealership, parts and service and body shop revenues increased 38% compared to the same time period of 2009.

This resulted in a third quarter absorption rate of a 109%, the second highest quarterly absorption rate in the company’s history. We expect our backend operations to still remain strong throughout the remainder of the year.

Class 8 new trunk deliveries increased 58% over the second quarter of 2010. This is the highest level of new truck delivery that we have seen in every two years. Although encouraging, request in whether or not this uptick is sustainable until we see improvement in sectors like new housing construction and manufacturing key factors that drive freight.

During the quarter, our new medium-duty trucks sales were negatively impacted by production delays from certain truck manufactures and introducing a new models. However, Class 8 used truck sales and values are expected to remain strong for the foreseeable future.

During the quarter, the c sold the assets of its John Deere construction equipment business, including its Rush Equipment Centers in Houston and Beaumont, Texas to Doggett Heavy Machinery Services. We also acquired a 49 Isuzu dealership in Dallas, which will broaden our product offering and continue to replace the lost GMC franchise revenues from last year.

We are pleased with the performance of our recently acquired international franchises in both Utah and Idaho and we will continue to look for opportunities to expand our network with these manufacturers.

Now, for an industry outlook, industry experts currently estimate US Class 8 truck retail sales for 2010 to be roughly 109 thousand units up nearly 13% from 2009. Current industry projections for US Class 4 to 7 retail sales for 2010 and 113,500 units.

The age of the fleet and current fleet capacity utilization indicates that parts, service and body shop revenues should remain at a much improved levels that we have seen in the second and third quarters. Higher used truck values and increase backend revenues experience for the past two quarters are strong indicators that an industry recovery is taking place. We are encouraged by the uptick new Class 8 truck sales this quarter and believe we are seeing signs of confidence returning by some customers.

Industry experts are forecasting 2011 US Class 8 truck sales to be 178,000 units up 63% over 2010 and Class 4 to 7 trucks sales will be up about 15%. We believe that as general economic confidence returns, we will see strong truck sales markets from 2011, 12 and 13. We are very proud of company’s performances this quarter.

Our balance sheet remains strong and the company has continued to generate positive cash flow. We continued evaluate opportunities to extend our to contagious network of dealership locations into other parts of the country.

Thanks to our employees, we remained in financially strong and profitable company. We are now prepared to answer any questions that you might have. Operator?

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions). Your first question comes from John Barnes with RBC Capital Markets.

John Barnes - RBC Capital Markets

Good morning guys. Firstly, in looking at the absorption rate during the quarter, impacting in the acquisitions that you made, can you just give us a little bit of an idea of where the absorption rate might be for your kind of things stored, kind of your foot print and then you know, how that compares to the acquired locations?

Rusty Rush

Sure. I would say the same-store absorption rates actually, John, was just a ahead of over a 110%. We manufactured in the acquisition and going down about 1% but we’re pleased so far with our progress of the acquisition from an instruction perspective given only one quarter in to it but it is definitely up over historical that 2009 number in our first quarter of operating the acquisition. So there is still room for improvement obviously there.

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