Littelfuse, Inc. (NASDAQ:LFUS) today reported sales and earnings for the first quarter of 2012.
First Quarter Highlights
- Sales for the first quarter of 2012 increased 9% sequentially to $160.6 million but declined 4% compared to the first quarter of 2011. The electronics inventory correction was primarily responsible for the year-over-year decline, while all businesses contributed to the sequential improvement.
- Diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of 2012 were $0.81. This exceeded the company’s first quarter guidance of $0.68 to $0.78, but was below first quarter 2011 diluted earnings of $0.96 per share due primarily to lower sales and the effects of a weaker euro.
- Sales and order trends by business unit were as follows:
- Electronics sales declined 12% year over year primarily due to inventory swings in the supply chain. In the first quarter of 2011, distributors were building inventories and in the most recent quarter, distributors were reducing inventories. Electronics sales in the first quarter of 2012 increased 6% sequentially as the effects of the inventory correction subsided as the quarter progressed.
- Automotive sales increased 15% sequentially but declined 2% compared to a strong first quarter of 2011. The year-over-year decline was due to one-time aftermarket sales in the first quarter of 2011 and a weaker euro partially offset by increased Cole Hersee sales.
- Electrical sales increased 19% year over year due to continued strong growth in relays and custom products. Excluding Selco (acquired in August 2011), electrical sales increased 13% year-over-year.
- The electronics book-to-bill ratio for the first quarter of 2012 improved to 1.16 from 0.96 for the fourth quarter of 2011.
- Cash provided by operating activities was $7.9 million for the first quarter of 2012 compared to $13.7 million for the first quarter of 2011 primarily due to a $5.0 million contribution to the U.S. pension plan. Capital expenditures for the first quarter of 2012 were $3.2 million compared to $4.6 million for the first quarter of 2011.
- In April, the company made an additional $10.0 million investment in Shocking Technologies, a start-up company that manufactures specialty polymer materials which are embedded in printed circuit boards to provide electrostatic discharge protection. Littelfuse has now invested $16.0 million in Shocking Technologies for an ownership stake of approximately 18%.
- The previous share repurchase authorization expired on April 30, 2012 and was replaced with a one million share repurchase authorization effective through April 2013.
“The first quarter showed improvements in all key areas compared to the fourth quarter,” said Gordon Hunter, Chief Executive Officer. “Sales were higher for all three businesses and margins increased consistent with these higher sales levels. It appears that the electronics inventory correction is now behind us as evidenced by further reductions in distributor inventories, increasing shipments to distributors and a strong book-to-bill ratio.”