December 18, 2018 / 11:47 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 3-Navistar raises truck delivery forecast; shares jump

* Raises 2019 delivery, EBITDA forecast

* Fourth-quarter truck business sales jump about 76 pct

* Shares jump about 20 pct

* (Adds details from conference call, updates shares)

By Rachit Vats

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Navistar International Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its truck delivery forecast for 2019 on Tuesday, sending its shares up about 20 percent.

The company has gained traction from a robust U.S. economy and is seeing strong freight demand drive sales of its high-margin, heavy-duty trucks that haul goods across the country.

The company's shares rose as much as 19.5 percent to $28.50 in morning trade, their biggest percentage gain in two years.

Navistar said it plans to deliver more of its long-haul Class 8 trucks - used by the rigs that transport freight across America's highways - next year, as hauliers rush to replace older vehicles with more fuel-efficient ones.

Production for these trucks is expected to rise 5 percent to 335,000 units in 2019, according to ACT Research, the industry body tracking the commercial vehicle market.

Lisle, Illinois-based Navistar said it now expects to deliver between 265,000 and 295,000 of its Class 8 vehicles in 2019, from the 255,000 units to 285,000 units range it forecast earlier.

The company said 2019 is shaping up as another very good year.

"Class 8 sales remain well above replacement demand ... and volumes grew 60 percent, well above the industry growth rate of 36 percent," Navistar Chief Executive Officer Troy Clarke said on a post-earnings call.

Navistar said volumes next year would get a boost from its recent launches in the Class 4 and Class 5 category. It expects to deliver between 395,000 and 425,000 units of Class 6-8 vehicles in 2019, from an earlier 385,000 units to 415,000 units range.

The company also raised its 2019 EBITDA guidance to between $850 million and $900 million, from an earlier forecast of $775 million to $825 million.

Revenue in the truck business, Navistar's biggest, rose 75.8 percent to $197 million in the fourth quarter ended Oct. 31. The company expects its 2019 revenue to be between $10.75 billion and $11.25 billion.

Net income attributable to the company rose 39 percent to $188 million. Earnings per share rose to $1.89 from $1.36 per share, beating analysts' average expectation of $1.71 according to data from IBES Refinitiv. (bit.ly/2SWzGH8)

Navistar's revenue rose to $3.32 billion from $2.6 billion, also beating estimates. (Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Derek Francis)

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