UPDATE 2-Winnebago profit up 51 pct; revenues miss estimate

Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 | 9:45 AM ET

* Fiscal Q1 EPS beats expectations

* Dealer pricing power continues to improves

* Production up 27 pct in latest quarter

(Adds details, background, updates share price)

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Winnebago Industries Inc, the No. 1 U.S. motor home maker, reported a 51 percent jump in quarterly profit on Thursday as strong demand for its recreational vehicles prompted independent dealers to increase orders.

The Forest City, Iowa-based company, which announced just last month it was opening a third plant to expand production of one of its fastest-growing motor home lines, said output at existing facilities jumped 27 percent during the quarter and that dealers reported increased bargaining power with buyers.

In the just-finished quarter, Winnebago said it delivered 2,005 motor homes to dealers, up 31 percent from the comparable period last year. But deliveries of its more affordable campers and towables fell 13.1 percent.

The company, small but closely watched because of the window it provides on spending on big-ticket discretionary items, is benefiting as the strengthening U.S. economy has encouraged spending on a wide range of goods.

Net income rose to $11.1 million, or 40 cents per share, in the first quarter ended Nov. 30, from $7.4 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue was up 15 percent to $222.7 million.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 37 cents per share on revenue of $233.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Winnebago's shares dropped 4.2 percent at $30.30 in early trading.

The stock has more than doubled in the past 12 months, outperforming the 26 percent rise in the S&P 500 index.

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore and James B. Kelleher in Chicago; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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