WABASH NATIONAL POSTS GAINS IN PROFIT, SALES FOR QUARTER, YEAR

WABASH NATIONAL POSTS GAINS IN PROFIT, SALES FOR QUARTER, YEAR

Wabash National Corp. reported Wednesday net income in the fourth quarter of 1991 totaled $2.8 million, compared with $500,000 in 1990.

Net sales for the quarter were $51.3 million, compared with $38.5 million in 1990.For the full year, net income totaled $10.5 million, compared with $4.8 million in 1990. Net sales were $190.5 million in 1991, compared with $170.7 million in 1990.

Donald J. Ehrlich, Wabash president, said the gross margins improved ''significantly" last year as the trailer manufacturer "focused on successful product lines, including plate trailers, and capitalized on new product lines, particularly RoadRailer technology, that generated higher

margins and further distinguished Wabash from its competitors."

Mr. Ehrlich said the results were especially gratifying in light of the poor economic conditions and the "lowest level of new trailer shipments for the industry as a whole since 1983."

Mr. Ehrlich further noted that the company's backlog of orders was approximately $117.8 million as of Dec. 31, 1991, compared with $48.3 million at the same time a year ago.

Separately, the company announced the filing of a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission covering a proposed sale of 1.5 million shares of common stock by certain principal stockholders of the company through underwriters to be led by Alex Brown & Sons Incorporated.

The first 1.3 million shares of the proposed offering are to be sold by certain non-management holders and the balance will be sold by members of the company's senior management.