Harley-Davidson says tariffs just took a big bite out of profitability

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump speaks briefly to reporters after greeting Harley Davidson executives on the South Lawn of the White House, February 2, 2017
  • Harley-Davidson plunged nearly 11% Tuesday after reporting quarterly earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations.
  • The company said tariffs slammed fourth-quarter profitability.
  • President Donald Trump attacked Harley-Davidson last summer after the company said it would shift production overseas.
  • Watch Harley-Davidson trade live.

Harley-Davidson said Tuesday morning that President Donald Trump’s tariffs took a massive bite out of profitability in the fourth-quarter.

Shares of the motorcycle maker plunged nearly 11% in pre-market trading after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street expectations.

Harley-Davidson reported adjusted earnings per share of $US0.17 on revenue of $US955.6 million, missing the $US0.29 and $US1.05 billion that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting.

More granularly, revenue from its motorcycle segment fell in the fourth-quarter, but was up for the full-year compared to 2017. Non-adjusted, the company reported a breakeven quarter.

“Operating margin as a per cent of revenue decreased in the quarter due to restructuring charges, incremental tariffs and higher recall costs,” the company said in a regulatory filing.

After Harley-Davidson said last June that it would shift production outside of the US due to the negative impact tariffs would pose, Trump attacked the company on Twitter.

“Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag,” Trump said. “I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U., which has hurt us badly on trade, down $US151 Billion. Taxes just a Harley excuse – be patient!”

At the time, Harley-Davidson said tariffs would cause a “tremendous cost increase.”

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