Lear profits, sales fall amid slowdown

SOUTHFIELD—Lear Corp. (NYSE: LEA), the Southfield supplier of automotive seating systems and electronics, reported net income of $76 million or $1.26 per share, down from $229 million or $3.73 per share in the first quarter of 2019. Revenue was $4.46 billion, down from $5.16 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

The company said the effects of the coronavirus pandemic were $900 million on revenue and $200 million on operating earnings.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on people around the globe, and Lear’s deepest sympathies go out to all those who have been impacted by this crisis,” said Lear President and CEO Ray Scott. “I am proud that Lear has been at the forefront in supporting pandemic relief efforts through the manufacture and donation of masks and other personal protective equipment to hospital staff and first responders. We will continue to lend our support to communities in need as this humanitarian crisis unfolds. Our first quarter financial results were significantly impacted by production disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. We experienced plant shutdowns in China beginning in late January that were followed by shutdowns of almost all our global operations outside of China beginning in mid- to late-March. Excluding the impact of COVID-19, Lear’s results reflect solid financial performance in both of our business segments.  While significant near-term challenges remain, I am confident in the strength of our underlying business, long-term competitive position and liquidity.”

Global vehicle production declined by 23 percent compared to a year ago, with China down 47 percent, Europe down 19 percent, and North America down 10 percent.

Lear is planning for the safe return to work in plants and offices in regions currently subject to shutdowns. Building on lessons learned in China, Lear created a Safe Work Playbook to ensure employees feel safe, prepared and informed when they return to work.  The Playbook outlines practical guidelines for creating a safe workplace and offers insights into navigating COVID-19-related operational challenges. The Safe Work Playbook was published on Lear’s website at Lear.com to share with all organizations dealing with COVID-19.

Lear officials said the company has adequate liquidity to meet its cash needs for the foreseeable future and is fully prepared to take further actions as needed. They also withdrew their 2020 earnings guidance on March 26 due to coronavirus uncertainty.

To listen to a conference call discussing these results visit ir.lear.com.

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