Harley-Davidson profit rises; shipment forecast unchanged

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) - Harley-Davidson Inc <HOG.N> reported higher quarterly earnings on Tuesday, lifted by the normal summer surge in motorcycle sales in its key North American market, but it kept the full-year forecast for its global shipments unchanged.

The Milwaukee-based company posted a third-quarter profit of $162.7 million, or 73 cents a share, up from $134.0 million, or 59 cents a share, a year earlier.

Overall revenue from bikes, parts and accessories, financial services and apparel rose 7 percent to $1.34 billion.

The results were in line with market expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"They basically did everything they said they would, and they haven't changed their guidance," said Morningstar analyst Jaime Katz.

Worldwide retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles rose 15.5 percent, led by a 19 percent jump in North America, where the company sells roughly two-thirds of its bikes.

Harley-Davidson said it still expected to ship 259,000 to 264,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2013.

The company's annual worldwide shipment levels peaked at about 350,000 units in 2006, right before the U.S. housing bubble burst and consumer demand for Harley-Davidson's motorcycles - which are priced from $8,000 to more than $30,000 - skidded into a ditch along with the broader economy.

In trading before the market opened, Harley-Davidson shares were up 2.2 percent at $67.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Maureen Bavdek and Lisa Von Ahn)