Lear profits, sales rise

SOUTHFIELD — Lear Corp., the manufacturer of automotive seating and electrical systems, reported net income of $353.7 million or $5.16 a share in the first quarter, up from $305.8 million or $4.35 a share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Revenue was $5.73 billion, up 15 percent from $5 billion a year earlier.

The company also announced it had increased its share repurchase authorization to $1.5 billion, and raised its quarterly cash dividend by 40 percent to 70 cents a share.

“In the first quarter, we again delivered record financial results and accelerated our sales growth,” said Ray Scott, Lear’s president and CEO. “We are launching many new programs this year with added content and opportunities for profitable product mix improvement. In seating, we have 145 launches, 70 percent of which are on high-content crossovers, SUVs and pickups. In e-systems, we have 160 launches, including the industry’s most sophisticated connected gateway module… In addition to our record backlog of awarded programs, this year we are quoting $1 billion in annualized new business related to the trends of electrification and connectivity alone.”

The company said the sales increase reflects the addition of new business in both product segments and the acquisition of Grupo Antolin’s seating business, partially offset by lower production volumes on key Lear platforms. Sales for the seating and e-systems segments were up 12 and 24 percent, respectively.

Lear increased its 2018 financial outlook for sales and earnings based on its first quarter performance and outlook for the remainder of the year. Sales in 2018 are now expected to be in the range of $21.8 billion to $22 billion, up $400 million from the prior outlook. The increase in sales reflects the strengthening of foreign currencies compared to the U.S. dollar, as well as higher production on key Lear programs. Core operating earnings are now expected to be in the range of $1.790 billion to $1.81 billion, up $40 million from the prior outlook.

Lear’s 2018 financial outlook is based on a global industry production assumption of 95.7 million vehicles, up 3 percent from 2017. On a regional basis, vehicle production is forecasted to be 17.2 million units in North America, up 1 percent, 23.4 million units in Europe and Africa, up 2 percent, and 27 million units in China, up 3 percent. The financial outlook is also based on an average exchange rate of $1.21 to 1 Euro for the year.

To listen to a replay of the conference call discussing the event, call (855) 859-2056 in the United States or (404) 537-3406, using the conference ID 58073012.

More at www.lear.com.

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