Navistar appoints new CEO as turnaround gains momentum

LISLE, Ill., Thu Mar 7, 2013 — Navistar International Corp. named a new chief executive as the truck and engine maker indicated it was on the road to recovery by forecasting market share gains in the second half of the year, pushing its stock 26 percent higher on Thursday.

The company said Chief Operating Officer Troy Clarke will take over as CEO, replacing Lewis Campbell, a former Textron Inc. chief. Campbell took over as interim CEO in August after Navistar fired Daniel Ustian over the failure of its new generation diesel engines.

Under Campbell, Navistar cut jobs, sold interests in non-core joint ventures, raised money by selling shares and avoided a proxy fight with Carl Icahn by agreeing to appoint new board members.

“Our turnaround is well underway and is gaining momentum, which is why we are now ready to put a longer-term CEO in place,” Campbell said on a conference call with analysts. “We can see the end of the runway and it looks very good.”

Shares of Navistar, which also reported a narrower quarterly loss and an improved cash balance on Thursday, were trading up more than $6 at $31.45 on hopes that the worst is over for the company.

Campbell said he recommended to the board that Clarke be promoted. Clarke joined Navistar from General Motors in 2010. He was named COO last year.

Navistar fires back after Icahn criticizes CEO switch

WARRENVILLE, Ill., Mon Sep 10, 2012 – Navistar International Corp. defended itself on Monday against activist investor Carl Icahn, who had said the U.S. truck and engine maker’s August hiring of a new chief executive officer was ill-advised.

The company, whose shares fell nearly 3 percent, accused Icahn of engaging in “threats, attacks and disruptions” after he made his criticisms public on Sunday.

Icahn, Navistar’s third-largest shareholder, said the truckmaker had not discussed the CEO switch with his firm, and he called the hiring of former Textron Inc. CEO Lewis Campbell a “worse-than ill-advised move.”

The company, which makes International-brand heavy trucks as well as school buses and recreational vehicles, dismissed Icahn’s complaint.

“Navistar maintains an ongoing dialogue with its shareholders and appreciates their input and views,” the company said. “After a year of dialogue, we are extremely disappointed that Mr. Icahn has chosen to pursue his unproductive tactics of threats, attacks, and disruption.”

Navistar CEO retires; ex-Textron exec is interim CEO

LISLE, Ill. Mon Aug 27, 2012 – Navistar International Corp. CEO Daniel Ustian is retiring, and former Textron Inc. executive Lewis Campbell will replace him immediately as interim CEO, the truck and engine maker said on Monday.

The company, which is struggling to win U.S. regulatory approval for a new generation of diesel engines, also named Troy Clarke as president and chief operating officer. Clarke is currently Navistar’s president of truck and engine operations.

Shares of Navistar, which had shed nearly half of their value in the last six months, rose 3.6 percent to $23.81 in morning New York Stock Exchange trading.

“Lewis Campbell is a high-caliber executive who brings to Navistar deep and broad strategic, technical and operational skills and a proven track record of leadership with global industrial companies,” said Michael Hammes, Navistar’s independent lead director.

Campbell, 66, was Textron’s CEO from 1998 to 2009. He previously spent 24 years at General Motors Co. in various executive roles.

For much of the past year, Navistar has been trying to win approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a new diesel engine technology that would lower emissions of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant linked to asthma, without using urea.

Navistar fourth quarter profit beats Wall Street forecast

CHICAGO ― Navistar International Corp. posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by higher demand for its trucks in North America.

The truck and engine maker’s fourth-quarter net income jumped to $255 million, or $3.48 a share, from $44 million, or 61 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding items, the company earned $3.37 a share.

Sales rose 28 percent to $4.32 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of $3.08 a share, on revenue of $4.44 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has amassed a 10 percent stake in Navistar, wants the company to merge with rival Oshkosh Corp.

However, another big investor Jeffrey Altman has questioned the proposal, and pressed company executives to demonstrate the value of any such deal.

Navistar shares closed at $36.54 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Navistar deadline highlights investor Icahn’s truck stake

WARRENVILLE, Ill., Billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s big bet on the U.S. heavy-truck industry remains in the spotlight as the deadline nears for investors at Navistar International Corp to nominate new members for the board of directors.

Navistar’s deadline — set for Nov. 15 — comes about a month following Icahn’s purchase of a nearly 10 percent stake in the truck and engine maker.

Navistar has had discussions with Icahn in recent weeks. The company extended its board nomination deadline by about a month after Icahn first publicly disclosed his investment. He expressed a desire for potential board seats in that Oct. 13 disclosure.

Icahn’s interest in Navistar has received increased interest given the similar stake he holds in rival Oshkosh Corp. Last week, Icahn nominated six of his associates for Oshkosh’s board, heightening speculation that he is hatching a plan to merge that company with Navistar.

The two companies have a combined market value of about $5 billion. Navistar is the bigger of the two, with its market capitalization equaling about $3 billion.

Icahn did not immediately respond to requests for comment on his Navistar stake on Friday. He did not update his intentions for Oshkosh when he nominated directors to its board on Nov. 4.

“Navistar’s board and management team are committed to acting in the best interests of the company and our stockholders,” spokesman Jim Spangler said. “We remain focused on executing our strategy.”

Navistar — known mostly for its sales of heavy trucks and big engines in the U.S. — has grown into a more international and diverse player under Chief Executive Daniel Ustian’s leadership in recent years. Like Oshkosh, Navistar now derives a significant part of its revenue and profits from defense contracts, which have served to offset weakness at other key customers, such as municipalities and owners of smaller truck fleets.

Still, Navistar’s primary business remains the sales of heavier trucks to civilian and municipal operators, and the sale of engines to a variety of customers.

Icahn’s investments in Navistar and Oshkosh are worth nearly $500 million. Shares of Navistar and Oshkosh have fallen more than 40 percent off 52-week highs of $71.49 and $40.11 respectively. Oshkosh’s stock, trading at $22.16, has risen more than 10 percent since Icahn proposed his slate of directors.

Icahn interested in merger between rivals Navistar, Oshkosh

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. ― Billionaire investor Carl Icahn wants Navistar International Corp. to consider merging with rival Oshkosh Corp., though he has not yet made a formal proposal to either company, several people familiar with the situation said.

Icahn, who has amassed 10 percent stakes in each of the companies, is currently in discussions with Navistar about getting one or more seats on the board of the U.S. truck and engine maker, these people said.

Icahn reported his stake in Navistar last week and said at the time he has held talks with management to discuss its business strategies and will seek additional conversations.

A deal, however, is far from certain. It’s not clear whether either of the companies would be open to the idea and it remains to be seen how effective Icahn would be in getting what he wants at these companies.

Shares of Oshkosh, which have nearly halved this year as the company struggles with a declining defense business and an expensive 2006 acquisition of JLG Industries, jumped 6.6 percent to $19.61 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, valuing the firm at nearly $1.8 billion.

Navistar shares rose 3.6 percent to $41.53 in early trading, valuing the company at about $3 billion. The stock has fallen some 30 percent this year.

A Navistar-Oshkosh combination has long been talked about as a possibility in the industry as the two companies can wring out costs and excess capacity. There are also some complementary units such as Navistar’s finance and engine making businesses that could benefit from a merger.

Oshkosh investors have been concerned about the company’s exposure to defense contracts due to government-spending cutbacks and increased competition, including the threat posed by Navistar’s own plan to grow in the sector.

Tying up with another player in the heavy-vehicle industry could protect Oshkosh from a secular downturn in the defense sector that many analysts are predicting.

Icahn did not return a request for comment. Oshkosh declined to comment on relationships with Icahn and other shareholders.

A Navistar spokesperson referred to remarks its chief executive Dan Ustian made in an interview with Fox Business on Tuesday. In that interview, Ustian said Icahn “is into (Navistar) to make some money … We have to deliver to him and all our other investors.”