Get out of caravans, Fleetwood told

Brokerage Hartleys says Fleetwood should look at getting out of the 51-year-old caravan business behind its name.

Analyst Simon Andrew in a research note sent to clients last week said core parts of the company needed to be closed or sold so Fleetwood could generate enough cash to reduce debt.

That included the recreational vehicle business, which includes the Coromal and Windsor brands. "We struggle to see how Fleetwood can turn the business around in what is clearly becoming a more competitive market, both from local and foreign competition," Mr Andrew said.

"Fleetwood may even consider taking the same path as several players in the Australian automotive sector and take manufacturing offshore."

The RV business manufactures in Perth but has started importing campers and budget caravans from Asia.

It suffered a first-half earnings loss of $4 million.

The analyst said the company could shrink its Searipple worker accommodation village in Karratha. It struck a deal with Rio Tinto last week to occupy about 60 per cent of Searipple for at least three years.

Mr Andrew also sought certainty about the Osprey residential development in Port Hedland.

Fleetwood is in talks with the State Government to renegotiate a 15-year operating deal.

If the discussions break down, Fleetwood would be eligible to receive a capital payout from the Government.

Without restructuring, Mr Andrew said the market could expect no operational improvements and should brace for asset writedowns.

Hartleys has a reduce recommendation on the stock and a 12-month price target of $1.

Fleetwood shares yesterday closed up 2.5¢ to $1.35.

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