Wabash National reported net income of $3.2 million for the first quarter of 2011 on net sales of $222 million, compared to a net loss of $139.1 million the same time last year on net sales of $78 million.

Results for the three months ended March 31, 2010 included a non-cash charge of $126.8 million related to the increase in the fair value of the company's warrant which was issued in 2009 to a private investor and fully exercised in the third quarter of 2010.

The company reported operating income of $4 million for the first quarter of 2011 compared to an operating loss of $11.2 million for the first quarter of 2010. The improvement in operating income of $15.2 million for the three month period resulted primarily from higher new trailer shipments of 8,900 units, an increase of 242 percent from the prior year period.

The first quarter gross profit margin of 7.4% reflects the company's best performance since 2007.

"Our efforts to further diversify our business continued to gain traction as sales of our DuraPlate Products had its best quarter on record with revenue of approximately $11 million," said Dick Giromini, President and CEO. "We also announced an agreement this quarter to further diversify through increased sales of our Allied Products to manufacture Frac tanks for the environmental services and oil and gas industries."

New trailer shipments of 8,900 for the first quarter were at the high end of Wabash's guidance,and backlog increased over $250 million to approximately $731 million as of March 31, 2011, reaching the highest level in more than a decade.

"The strength of our backlog coupled with very low cancellation rates reflects the accelerating recovery in our industry and the strength of our market position," Giromini said. "In addition, ACT has recently increased its forecast for 2011 industry trailer volumes to approximately 200,000 units. As a result of these factors and our improved outlook for demand, we are also increasing
our new trailer shipment expectations for 2011 to an estimated 45,000 to 47,000 units. With volumes now reaching pre-recession levels, we are focusing our attention to the shorter-term challenges associated with additional ramp-up in production capacity and the continuing impacts of rising commodity and component costs."