FLEETWOOD is expanding its manufacturing operations in Perth and Melbourne to cope with record demand for its caravans and park homes.
The expansion follows last year’s acquisition of Windsor Caravans in Melbourne and parts supplier Car-Van in Sydney.
The rapid growth has been driven primarily by retirees and the resource sector and is expected to underpin further profit growth this year.
Fleetwood had originally planned to build Coromal caravans at Windsor, which is constructing a second production facility in Melbourne.
However, increased demand for Windsor caravans is expected to soak up the extra output so the company is planning to build a 5,000 square metre factory adjoining Coromal’s existing 8,500 square metre facility at Forrestfield.
Marketing director Stephen Gill said Coromal already employed about 120 people and anticipated that number would grow by about 30 per cent.
Mr Gill said Fleetwood was also on the lookout for a six hectare site in the Forrestfield area so that it could integrate the operations of Fleetwood Portables, currently in Welshpool, and Fleetwood Durabuilt, now in Maddington.
He said he expected the integrated operation would be more efficient and allow for further expansion.
At Fleetwood’s recent annual general meeting chairman Peter Gunzburg said the company was forecasting another record profit in the current financial year.
Bell Potter senior analyst Matthew Ward has forecast a 43 per cent lift in net profit to $16.1 million in 2004, with further strong growth in 2005.
Following the comments at the AGM, Mr Ward said it was possible profit could be even higher than forecast.