Wellard’s Klepec new chairman at changing Fleetwood

Wellard’s Klepec new chairman at changing Fleetwood

The chief of live exporter Wellard, John Klepec, is taking the chairmanship of Fleetwood in the latest stage of a leadership revamp at the 57-year-old former caravan-maker.

The appointment, flagged by thewest.com.au three weeks ago, was confirmed today, with Fleetwood saying the former Hancock Prospecting executive would replace Philip Campbell with effect from tomorrow.

Mr Campbell brought forward his retirement in November, just a month after chief executive Brad Denison stepped down suddenly in the wake of the company’s plans to relocate its management team to the east coast to be closer to its manufacturing operations.

Mr Klepec joined the Fleetwood board just three months ago. His supporters include activist shareholder Sandon Capital, which had agitated in the past for change at Fleetwood.

Today’s elevation was announced with Fleetwood’s first-half results, which confirmed a 40 per cent increase in first-half net profit to $8.6 million on a 5 per cent rise in revenue to $169.9m. The company will pay an interim dividend of 6¢ a share.

The results are in line with guidance issued in early February that sent Fleetwood shares to a near three-year high.

Since selling its foundation caravan business in 2019, the company has focused on transportable accommodation, caravan accessories and its two resources-linked accommodation villages in the North West.

During the half-year, the villages in Karratha and Port Hedland benefited from improved occupancy as the pandemic threat eased, while its core building solutions business finished the period with an improving outlook and a $140m order book.

The recreational vehicle business, which supplies RV and caravan accessories, wound up the half-year with three strong sales months.

Broker Canaccord Genuity, which rates Fleetwood a buy, lifted its 12-month target price for the stock by 10¢ to $3.20 on the basis of the result. “The company has a strengthening order book, is cashed up and offers great leverage to ongoing increases in infrastructure spend and WA resource project activity,” it said.

Fleetwood is being run by chief financial officer Andrew Wackett while the group looks for a replacement for Mr Denison.

Fleetwood shares closed 5¢ down at $2.70.

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Author: Sean Smith
Published: 25 February 2021
Source: The West Australian