Should We Follow Icahn Into This Loss Making Truck Maker? – Navistar International Corp’s (NAV), PACCAR Inc (PCAR)

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Navistar International Corp’s (NYSE:NAV) share price has been extremely volatile for the past four years. The company’s share price has risen from $22.90 in Mar. 2009 to $69.50 in Apr. 2011, and then it plunged to only $19 in Oct. 2012. Afterwards, Navistar International Corp’s (NYSE:NAV) climbed up significantly to more than $35.40 per share.

Interestingly, two big activist investors, who have been building their stakes in the company, are Carl Icahn and Mark Rachesky. Each of them owns around 12 million shares in the company. Let’s take a closer look to see whether we should follow Icahn and Rachesky into Navistar International Corp’s (NYSE:NAV).

Navistar International Corp (NYSE:NAV)Business snapshot

Navistar International Corp’s (NYSE:NAV), incorporated in 1993, is a global maker of trucks, buses and recreational vehicles under several brands such as International, IC Bus, Maxx Force and Monaco RV, operating in four main business segments: Truck, Engine, Parts and Financial Services. The majority of its revenue, $9 billion, or 69.5% of the total 2012 revenue, was generated from the Truck segment. The Engine segment ranked second, with nearly $3.4 billion in revenue in 2012 while the Parts segment contributed around $2.12 billion in revenue. The Financial Services segment generated only $259 million in 2012 revenue. However, only the Parts segment and the Financial Services segment generated operating profits of $240 million and $91 million, respectively. The Truck and Engine segment incurred losses of $320 million and $562 million, respectively.

Icahn was not happy with the current Board

In the letter to Navistar International Corp’s (NYSE:NAV)’s Board of Directors in Sept. 2012, Icahn has expressed his concerns about the company’s board. He wrote that in more than two years, the company’s market share had dropped by 40% (from 25% to only 15%) in the Class 8 market. The share price has decreased by 58% to below $25 per share. However, during the challenging business condition, the Board spent time and money on lawsuits against suppliers, regulators and competitors, but it did not want to spend money on a necessary “back-up plan involving the industry standard technology” that the company now must depend on.

When Navistar International Corp’s (NYSE:NAV) promoted its COO Troy Clarke to become the CEO, Icahn seems to be satisfied. He said: “We believe that Troy will be able to focus the company on its core business, execute on aggressive cost and market share targets and ultimately succeed in leading Navistar International Corp’s (NYSE:NAV) to the dominant position in the North America heavy truck market over the next several years. The company has a bright future and we are behind Troy 100% in his efforts to build Navistar into a focused, competitive and profitable truck and engine manufacturer.”

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