Autoliv, Inc. ( ALV)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 25, 2011 09:00 AM ET


Jan Carlson – President and CEO

Mats Wallin – CFO


Thomas Besson – Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Brett Hoselton – KeyBanc

Himanshu Patel – JPMorgan

Philip Watkins – Citi

Johan Dahl – Erik Penser Bank

Richard Hilgert – Morningstar

Rod Lache – Deutsche Bank

Niclas Höglund – Swedbank

Adam Brooks – Sidoti

Hampus Engellau – Handelsbanken

Anders Trapp – SEB

Peter Nesvold – Jefferies



Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Q3 2011 Autoliv Earnings Release Conference Call. At this time, I would like to turn the call over to your host today, Mr. Jan Carlson. Please go ahead, sir.

Jan Carlson

Thank you very much. Welcome, everyone, to this earnings presentation. Here in Stockholm, we have our CFO, Mats Wallin; and our VP Corporate Communications, Mats Ödman; and myself, Jan Carlson, President and Chief Executive Officer.

We will open with a review of our third quarter results, including an overview of general business conditions. Then, we will discuss our guidance for the fourth quarter and full year 2011. At the conclusion of this presentation, we will remain available to respond to your questions. And as usual, the slide deck is available through a link on the front page of our corporate website.

Turning the page, we have the Safe Harbor statement, which as you know is an integrated part of this presentation. As usual, we will reference some non-U.S. GAAP measures throughout the presentation. The reconciliations to U.S. GAAP are disclosed in our quarterly press release and in the 10-Q filing.

Moving on to the next page, I would like to start out today’s earnings call by mentioning another new innovation milestone in automotive safety. Earlier today, we announced that we have developed and will introduce the world’s first integrated vehicle safety control system.

This advanced technology combines the electronic brake controller with our electronic restraint controller. This reduces overall system complexity and cost while improving performance. This breakthrough in combining active and passive safety is a major step forward in achieving our accident prevention strategy. If you recall, just three years ago, we introduced the first integrated stability control sensor cluster and air bag ECU, which has now become an industry standard. Congratulations to the Autoliv Active Safety team for this achievement.

As illustrated on the next page, we introduced two new active safety technologies during the quarter. We launched our first mono-vision camera with BMW. This camera system provides the driver with accident avoidance features.

These include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, automatic high beam switching, as well as traffic sign recognition. We also launched our first radar introduction for a compact car platform as expanded feature on the Mercedes B-Class. This is particular application Mercedes is using our 24-gigahertz radar for adaptive braking and blind spot assist. All of these advances paved the way for further future enhancement to the safety system.

These examples also show that customers’ confidence in Autoliv as a technology partner in the emerging industry of active safety. Moving on to the next page, we continue to execute our operational and growth strategies. Our actions have resulted in outperforming the global light vehicle production for the eighth consecutive quarter and achieving a double-digit operating margin for the seventh consecutive quarter.

For the first time ever, our sales on a trailing 12 months exceeding $8 billion and we had a very strong operating cash flow.

During the quarter, we also expanded our product offerings in active safety by acquiring 77-gigahertz radar technology from ASTYX, a market leader in long-range radar technology. This acquisition complements our already strong market position in radar which, along with our vision systems, continued to show exceptional growth.

In the emerging markets, we continue to have double-digit growth even when the light vehicle production is somewhat slowing.

Lastly, as to the anti-trust investigations, I can only say that they are still ongoing and that we therefore will not provide any additional information at this time.

On to the next page, we achieved record sales, gross profit and EBIT for the third quarter. Our organic sales growth of 9% was 4 percentage points better than the global light vehicle production and was in line with our expectations at the beginning of the quarter.

We achieved an EBIT margin of 10.4%, excluding 20 basis points or $5 million of expenses related to the ongoing investigation. We therefore exceeded our guidance despite currency revaluation effect. And lastly, our earnings per share, return on capital employed, return on equity, operating cash flow and EBIT margin were all the second best in the history of our company for the third quarter.

Turning the page, our cash from operations was $192 million for the quarter. This strong cash flow performance has allowed us to reduce our net debt to $41 million. Our capital expenditures of $86 million were 4.3% of sales.

The full-year 2011 CapEx expectations remain at approximately $375 million or 4.5% of sales. Approximately $150 million of these capital expenditures are required to support our rapid growth in the emerging market and active safety. While focusing on growth opportunities, we remain shareholder-friendly as illustrated on the next slide, where we have our dividend trend.

Since reinstating the dividend in the second quarter last year, we had increased the dividend per share by 50%. The dividend payment in the third quarter of a little more than $40 million is a 29% increase from the previous high in quarter three 2007. Over the last 12 months we have returned approximately one third of our free cash flow to shareholders through dividend payments.

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