Lippstadt, September 27, 2018.
The lighting and electronics expert HELLA started off fiscal year 2018/2019 with a strong increase in sales and earnings and is thus continuing its successful business development. Consolidated sales, adjusted for currency effects, therefore rose by 10.3 percent in the first quarter (June 1 to August 31, 2018) and reported sales increased by 9.7 percent to € 1.8 billion (prior year: € 1.6 billion).
At the same time, the adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (adjusted EBIT) increased by 12.0 percent to € 140 million (prior year: € 125 million), bringing the adjusted EBIT margin to 7.8 percent (prior year: 7.7 percent). Taking special effects into account, the reported earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by 12.5 percent to € 139 million (prior year: € 123 million), with the reported EBIT margin also reaching 7.8 percent (prior year: 7.6 percent).
"From a sales and earnings perspective, we can look back on a strong first quarter. In the end, our growth exceeded that of the market due to our technology leadership and our attractive product portfolio," explains HELLA CEO Dr. Rolf Breidenbach. "Even if market uncertainty will increase, we are well on our way toward achieving our annual targets."
Automotive segment drives Group-wide growth
The automotive segment was the primary growth driver in the first quarter. Reported segment sales increased by 11.2 percent to € 1.4 billion (prior year: € 1.2 billion). The reasons for this increase include numerous production ramp-ups as well as the ongoing strong demand for innovative lighting systems and electronics solutions, particularly in the areas of driver assistance systems and energy management. In addition, the profitability of the segment improved. The adjusted EBIT increased by 16.1 percent to € 106 million (prior year: € 91 million). This equates to an increase in the adjusted EBIT margin to 7.6 percent (prior year: 7.3 percent).
Aftermarket enjoys strong workshop and spare parts business
In the Aftermarket segment, without taking the wholesale distribution business activities into consideration, reported sales increased by 6.8 percent to € 174 million (prior year: € 163 million) in the first three months. This sales increase resulted in particular from the strong demand for workshop products as well as positive sales trends in the independent spare parts business. In addition, the segment’s adjusted EBIT improved by 9.3 percent to € 15 million (prior year: € 13 million), with the adjusted EBIT margin therefore reaching 8.4 percent (last year: 8.2 percent) in the first quarter.
Special Applications sales equivalent to the value of the prior year
Reported sales in the Special Applications segment reached around € 100 million after the first three months and are therefore equivalent to the value of the prior year. The development trend particularly in the agricultural and construction vehicle area was strong in the first quarter, whereas the closing of the Australia plant had a reducing effect on sales. The segment’s reported EBIT fell in the first quarter to € 13 million due to the positive one-time effects of the first quarter last year (prior year: € 16 million). The EBIT margin subsequently dropped to 12.8 percent (prior year: 16.1 percent).
Positive company outlook confirmed after the first quarter
After the first three months, HELLA confirms the positive company outlook for the current fiscal year 2018/2019 (June 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019). "We are currently experiencing a demanding, very dynamic industry environment, which is also causing ongoing increased uncertainty overall in the automotive industry," adds Dr. Rolf Breidenbach. "Nevertheless, due to our strong strategic positioning, we can confirm our forecast for the current fiscal year." HELLA will therefore continue to expect a currency and portfolio-adjusted sales growth as well as an adjusted EBIT increase of 5 to 10 percent each, and expects an adjusted EBIT margin that is approximately the equivalent to the value of the prior year.
Selected key financial figures in € millions or as a percentage of sales for the first three months (June 1 to August 31):