“News is the first rough draft of history.”
– Philip Graham,
American publisher, per Forbes Quotes.
The American and global economy that you knew 30 days ago has dramatically shifted, as most readers are realizing. Elements of that rapid shift are reflected in the headline topics, each of which will be covered systematically following this preface.
MHProNews has strived to provide professional readers with insights and reports that might not otherwise be easily gleaned from the tidal wave of mainstream news about the coronavirus pandemic. As part of that ongoing effort for understanding, we’ve reached out to a number of MDs. MHProNews also caught up with several sources in Iran, where we have contacts.
There are places in Iran were mass graves are being employed. Per sources, the poorest and those with inadequate hygiene are reportedly the most vulnerable. While those financially better off seem to be faring better, no one is immune.
Here in the U.S., as simple as it may sound, one MD told MHProNews that taking steps to support your immune system is a logical precaution that the doctor himself is following. Adding some Vitamin C daily to your diet was among the tips, along with good hydration and avoiding the public as much as possible.
But this next item is perhaps the starkest and most potent reality checks yet. It is from a respected MD we know that shared a post by an emergency room (ER) doctor. Following this will be our Nobility Homes sales data plus the balance of our report and analysis. The message from the MD and the post are unedited.
“This is a post from an ER doc. Medicine is very worried.” – DKM
I’ve had enough at this point. The number of people who call this “media hysteria” or a “political hoax” or want to point out the mortality rates of the flu, cancer, or obesity…do you want to come work my shifts? Do you want to expose yourself to patients in respiratory failure day after day? When we run out of ICU beds and vents, do you want the responsibility of telling your mom, dad, aunts, uncles, friends, and family that I can’t intubate them because we just don’t have the resources? Do you want to tell the kids of 30 and 40 year old patients that their parent is going to die and we can’t do anything to stop it? Do you want to look at the parents of a 20 something year old and tell them their previously healthy son or daughter might not survive? Because these are REAL possibilities. This is ACTUALLY what is happening around the world.
This American superiority complex of “it’s just not going to affect me the same way” is gross. There have been multiple projections that this could infect 40-70% of the population. While it’s hard to extrapolate accurate predictions, that should concern you. It shouldn’t make you hysterical and run to doomsday prep, but it should make you want to be a part of the solution in decreasing the spread. Because kids aren’t dying I think people feel protected. Kids less than 10 aren’t dying. People in their 20s and 30s are in respiratory failure and ARE dying. These are not elderly people with lots of medical problems that have had the chance to live full lives. These are young and previously healthy people. Yes, the elderly are more likely. But the young and healthy ARE NOT IMMUNE.
Why is this such a big deal when we’ve already been seeing people with the flu? RESOURCES. Over the past few months we have already spent many days at capacity, boarding patients including ICU patients in the ER. We don’t suddenly have a bigger ER, more floors to admit patients to, or more staff to take care of this influx. We have the same resources now with a second deadly virus. For estimated 80% getting sick this is like a cold. For the other 20% they’re either significantly sick, or eventually dead. Yes, cancer kills more. Yes, obesity related illness kills more. When taking care of my obese patients I don’t have to worry I’m going to “catch diabetes” or that suddenly my coronaries will be blocked. Their BMI can’t be transmitted to me through the air. Lung cancer isn’t contagious. I’m not worried about catching lung cancer when intubating these patients in respiratory failure. I’m vaccinated against the flu, and I can protect myself from flu patients with a simple surgical mask.
Patients coming into the ER want the best, EVERYTHING to be done, and for it to happen quickly. And more often than not, we deliver on that. We’re going to have a different reality if we don’t have rapid containment. Everything is going to be far from an option for most patients, and I’m not looking forward to the potential ethically crushing choices we might have to make.
Italy SHUT DOWN THEIR COUNTRY. Italy isn’t drastically impacting their economy, tourism, education, and way of life because they care about our presidential election. They are doing it because their citizens are dying. This isn’t a hoax. This isn’t just the cold. And I don’t care if more people by the numbers have already died of the flu. (Actually I very much care-GET VACCINATED). This is a big fucking deal. Open your eyes and pay attention. Your American immune system is not equipped with special corona fighting antibodies that just skipped over other countries. And more importantly, your healthcare system that already didn’t have enough doctors doesn’t suddenly have a surplus of doctors.
While you have the option (THAT YOU SHOULD TAKE) to stay at home and decrease the likelihood of you being a vector, when you do get sick, guess who is still working? Your nurses, doctors, pharmacists, hospital support staff, EMS, police…we don’t have the option to stay at home and protect ourselves and our families. The consensus among myself and other docs is and expectation of not if, but when, we get sick. People that have no lung problems are developing respiratory and multi system organ failure, and dying. We know that could be us. And we aren’t just being exposed at the airport or the grocery store or at a concert venue…we are being DIRECTLY exposed to the sickest patients. And without the resources to protect ourselves. The public has stock piled N95 masks to an extent our masks are LOCKED away and we have to have approval to use them. Because we WILL run out. The protective recommendations by the CDC recently became more relaxed…and let’s be totally transparent. This is not because the transmission has slowed or COVID is less virulent. It’s because we cannot meet a higher standard. We cannot provide our healthcare workers with better protection because we simply don’t have it. And I’m so fortunate to work in a resource rich hospital with what I consider exceptional leadership. I see people busting ass to try to keep us safe and informed, but under the context of a rapidly evolving situation with not enough supplies, people, and space to manage the consequences. I’ve also heard the theories that the doctors that died in China were given amphetamines and worked days at a time. That exhaustion weakened their immunity. As we go through cycles of quarantine, who do you think is going to be on back up? Who do you think will be covering those extra shifts and putting in more hours? While we won’t be pumped full of amphetamines, someone will have to be there.
So if you’re one of the people that keeps laughing at the “hysteria,” keeps comparing it to more deadly disease, thinks that somehow you’re special and it’s going to skip over you…you’re not special and your immune system
isn’t unique. Take the current pandemic seriously. Stay home and don’t be a walking vector. Find a hobby, read some books, spring clean your house, make some new recipes, clear your DVR. You don’t need to panic and build a bunker, but don’t be an asshole. Stop buying protective supplies that puts those of us on the front line at high risk. Stop buying all the toilet paper. Covid doesn’t cause massive diarrhea. Our water supply is not contaminated. You don’t need to stock pile bottled water. Don’t go to the ER “because you just wanted to be checked out” when you’re not actually sick. You risk exposing yourself and frankly, you’re pulling us away from the patients that actually need us. And realize that when this gets worse, we are working as hard as we can to do the best we possibly can.”
Additionally, the same MD sent the following. It is nice reminder that people in medicine and the sciences are believers too.
“And, also sharing something that some churches have posted:”
Dovetailing with that prior them, from an entirely different industry-connected source was a link to this uplifting piece of music.
André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra performing Hallelujah as a tribute to Leonard Cohen live in London. André Rieu – Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) 20,323,848 views. Given the downer news, this seems like a timely lift.
Part II – Nobility Homes [NOBH] Quarterly Sales and Financial Performance Data
Note that in the forward-looking statements from Nobility’s management that the coronavirus is explicitly mentioned as a risk factor. The dip in sales for 2019 vs. 2018 was national, with most state markets following that trend. More on that in Part III, further below.
The video was not part of their new release, but provides insights about their home and company.
OCALA, FL / ACCESSWIRE / March 12, 2020 / Today Nobility Homes, Inc. (NOBH) announced sales and earnings for its first quarter ended February 1, 2020. Sales for the first quarter of 2020 were $9,443,852 as compared to $11,039,774 recorded in the first quarter of 2019. Income from operations for the first quarter of 2020 was $1,633,705 versus $1,771,831 in the same period a year ago. Net income after taxes was $1,400,141 as compared to $1,535,806 for the same period last year. Diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of 2020 were $0.38 per share compared to $0.40 per share last year.
Nobility’s financial position during the first quarter 2020 remains very strong with cash and cash equivalents, certificates of deposit and short term investments of $29,967,956 and no outstanding debt. Working capital is $38,334,114 and our ratio of current assets to current liabilities is 7.8:1. Stockholders’ equity is $50,457,170 and the book value per share of common stock increased to $13.83.
The Board of Directors declared a one-time cash dividend of $1.00 per common share for fiscal year 2019. The cash dividend is payable on March 27, 2020 to stockholders of record as of March 13, 2020. Nobility Homes has distributed one-time cash dividends of $1.00 and $.20 in fiscal years ending 2018 and 2017, respectively.
The Company has no defined dividend policy. The Board of Directors maintains the authority to declare distributions at their discretion. The Board performs a thorough and extensive evaluation of the Company’s balance sheet, cash flow, operating performance, and future earnings prospects when considering the declaration of any common dividend.
Terry Trexler, President, stated, “The demand for affordable manufactured housing in Florida continues to be good. According to the Florida Manufactured Housing Association, shipments in Florida for the period from November 2019 through January 2020 were down approximately 12% from the same period last year. Constrained consumer credit and the lack of lenders in our industry, partly as a result of an increase in government regulations, still affects our results by limiting many affordable manufactured housing buyers from purchasing homes. However, legislation may help improve this situation in the future.
Maintaining our strong financial position is vital for future growth and success. Because of very challenging business conditions during economic recessions in our market area, management will continue to evaluate all expenses and react in a manner consistent with maintaining our strong financial position, while exploring opportunities to expand our distribution and manufacturing operations.
Our many years of experience in the Florida market, combined with home buyers’ increased need for more affordable housing, should serve the Company well in the coming years. Management remains convinced that our specific geographic market is one of the best long-term growth areas in the country”.
On June 5, 2019 the Company celebrated its 52nd anniversary in business specializing in the design and production of quality, affordable manufactured homes. With multiple retail sales centers and an insurance agency subsidiary, we are the only vertically integrated manufactured home company headquartered in Florida.
MANAGEMENT WILL NOT HOLD A CONFERENCE CALL. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CALL TERRY OR TOM TREXLER @ 800-476-6624 EXT 221
OR TERRY@NOBILITYHOMES.COM OR TOM@NOBILITYHOMES.COM
Certain statements in this report are unaudited or forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Although Nobility believes that the amounts and expectations reflected in such forward-
looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, there are risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the potential negative impact on our business caused by the coronavirus or other health pandemic, competitive pricing pressures at both the wholesale and retail levels, increasing material costs or availability of materials due to potential supply chain interruptions, continued excess retail inventory, increase in repossessions, changes in market demand, changes in interest rates, availability of financing for retail and wholesale purchasers, consumer confidence, adverse weather conditions that reduce sales at retail centers, the risk of manufacturing plant shutdowns due to storms or other factors, the impact of marketing and cost-management programs, reliance on the Florida economy, impact of labor shortage, impact of materials shortage, increasing labor cost, cyclical nature of the manufactured housing industry, impact of rising fuel costs, catastrophic events impacting insurance costs, availability of insurance coverage for various risks to Nobility, market demographics, management’s ability to attract and retain executive officers and key personnel, increased global tensions, market disruptions resulting from terrorist or other attack and any armed conflict involving the United States and the impact of inflation.
The following paragraph is from the introduction to the full Nobility Homes 2019 annual report to shareholders, which is packed with data and disclosures. It can be downloaded at this link here.
“We appreciate the confidence and support of our shareholders, suppliers and friends of the Company. We would also like to express our thanks to each of our employees, whose dedication, focus and energy are key to achieving Nobility’s goals. With this confidence and support, along with the able leadership from the Board of Directors and our management team, we believe your Company has the human, financial and physical resources to meet the challenges ahead and the enthusiasm and determination to capitalize upon new opportunities as they develop.”
Part III. Additional Insights From Industry Producer
Yesterday a veteran HUD Code manufactured home producer made several observations to MHProNews during a phone call. In no particular order of importance are the following points that professional shared.
Among the top lines is that they don’t plan to shut down unless someone orders them to do so, which they said that OSHA or others could in theory make them do.
- What a difference a week can make.
- This week, they started to lock the doors to the lobby of their plant. No vendors are allowed in, except delivery trucks. No guests.
- Starting Monday, they began to take every employee’s temperatures in morning upon arrival.
- Temp above 99.9, they plan to send home. That has not yet occurred.
- They hired a “temp crew” to do additional cleaning at night. Extra employee cleaning and wiping down during the day is also in place.
- They have instructed team members to stay out of each other’s faces as much as possible, which the caller said is a good protocol anyway.
- He said the factory workers want to work, so they applauded the move to stay open and keep working.
- They have encouraged workers to follow similar guidance at work when they are at home or otherwise off duty.
- A medical professional reportedly told the caller to take vitamin C, B12, a D3 supplement, not unlike the MD cited above that encouraged boosting the immune system.
- They have rented commercial tents for outside to create some added spacing during breaks and meals that is not in an enclosed environment.
- He noted that not many in the plant were over age 50, and normally those that are would be working in an office and not on the production line.
While unhappy about some of the edicts coming from Washington, the source said that “nothing surprising” in the “communistic BS” coming and who will pay for it – meaning, taxpayers.
That noted, that firm has spent as much time in their strategy sessions planning for future opportunities after this coronavirus outbreak passes. “I believe our economy is somewhat strong and we will bounce back.”
While other sources have sounded off too, there was more detail in the above statements that would be relevant to industry readers. The upshot has been that while discussions of what might lead to a closure have occurred, no one has yet reportedly done so.
That noted, there have been reports of slower retail traffic by various operations. The related reports linked below the byline will provide added color on how Clayton Homes and others are reacting. That things are not near normal is underscored by the first-ever cancellation of the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show next week, see the related reports for more on that and other topics.
Part IV: MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
The summary of the medical advice could be good hygiene, build up your immune system, and reduce your risks of exposure as much as possible.
The simplified version of weeks of sometimes conflicting reports by medical professional could be this. The contagion and mortality rate of the coronavirus isn’t the sole issue. It is the notion that on top of all other prior medical issues, this new pandemic is a possible tipping point for front line medical professionals who in numbers of cases are already strained, and fear that they will be overwhelmed. Thus, the dramatic steps in Washington and in other nations which are closing borders, restricting travel, and in a growing list of nations and towns, order citizens to shelter in place for now, save for essential food, drinks, supplies or medical needs.
Such a shake up here in the U.S. and globally is launching several discussions on the role that China has played in this matter. See the related report below for more.
There are going to be additional deaths, perhaps by the thousands here in the U.S. Each premature death is a tragedy and loss for those whose lives are touched.
Beyond the initial shockwaves, the maxim that every problem is an opportunity in disguise could potentially come into focus for many during this COVID19 outbreak. Not that there is any notable hint of it from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) in their most recent email, but this could be a critical time to push the types of issues that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), MHProNews and MHLivingNews have stressed for years. Instead of more posturing out of Arlington, VA about resetting the date for their next fundraiser, err, meeting. Or what new bill the big boys want to pass when pro-manufactured housing laws that already exist are going under enforced.
Make no mistake. This crisis will be used as part of the moat for those who have operated in that mode.
MHI continues to push a Clayton-party backed line that stresses bifurcating the industry into a ‘new class of homes’ and the vast majority of all manufactured homes. That stratagem has clearly failed, as the 2019 shipment data reflected.
A pair of new regional snapshots per the Manufactured Housing Association of Oklahoma (MHAO) is reflected above and below.
There is no amount of spin that changes the facts, although MHI continues to try to do just that, as evidence by this pull quote from one of their reports.
As a marketer and a sales professional, you want to make the buying process as clear as possible. To try to split the industry into two was folly. Poor sales results for their new class of homes will be part of an in depth report that we will feature in the near term.
The bottom line is that the traditional opportunities that HUD Code manufactured homes already provided should have been the focus for a rational post-production strategy. During this time of shakeup, it is prudent to dive deeply into the reports that are linked below and understand as fully as possible the immense potential that exists, if the industry will shake itself from the grips of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, their allies and surrogates.
Playing it safe, not challenging the industry’s powers-that-be, those are arguably a recipe for slow motion death. The big boy’s “moat” stratagem has worked for over 15 years. It will continue to do so, unless it is challenged at the local level by firms with the chutzpah needed to say, enough is enough, and that they want a brighter future, not just the crumbs that the axis is willing to allow others to have.
Following their lead has led to a blind alley where professionals who operated sometimes successfully for decades got mugged.
It is precisely at times like this that owners, investors and company leaders should step back and reevaluate. The manufactured home industry once soared in the late 1990s toward 400,000 shipments a year. Why should the industry tolerate less than 100,000 shipments during an affordable housing crisis?
Far more is possible. The industry should not forget the fine aspects of its history. Those achievements of the past can be exceeded, but only by changing away from the problematic leadership of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.
See the related reports below the byline for more insights and context on COVID19. That’s a wrap for this installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory built housing” © – MHVille’s runaway #1 news source, where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.) Notice: all third party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a co-founder and managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Connect with us on LinkedIn here and here.