Harley-Davidson overhauling strategy as coronavirus drains income

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Harley-Davidson cut its dividend 95% and has begun developing a new strategic plan after the COVID-19 pandemic choked first-quarter sales.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer reported first-quarter profit fell 46 percent from a year ago to $69.7 million, or 45 cents per diluted share, as revenue from sales slipped 8 percent to $1.09 billion. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were anticipating earnings of 41 cents a share on revenue of $1.04 billion.

“COVID-19 has dramatically changed our business environment, and it is critical we respond with agility to this new reality,” Jochen Zeitz, acting president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, said in a statement.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
HOGHARLEY DAVIDSON18.94+0.27+1.45%

Harley-Davidson reduced its quarterly payout to 2 cents a share from 38 cents and has suspended share buybacks, along with putting a freeze on hiring and merit pay increases.

“The crisis has provided an opportunity to reevaluate every aspect of our business and strategic plan,” Zeitz added. “We have determined that we need to make significant changes to the company; to our priorities, to our operating model and to our strategy to drive more consistent performance as we emerge from this crisis.”

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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