Autoliv's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Autoliv Inc. (ALV)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 27, 2012 8:30 am ET

Executives

Jan Carlson – President, Chief Executive Officer

Mats Wallin – Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Mats Odman – Vice President, Corporate Communications

Analysts

David Leiker – R.W. Baird

Stefan Burgstaller – Goldman Sachs

Anders Trapp – SEB

Philip Watkins – Citigroup

Adam Brooks – Sidoti & Co.

Johan Dahl – Erik Penser

David Lim – Wells Fargo Securities

Bjorn Enarson – Danske Bank

Presentation

Operator

Good day ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Q1 2012 Results conference call. Today’s conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Jan Carlson, CEO. Please go ahead.

Jan Carlson

Thank you, Caroline. Welcome everyone to this earnings presentation. Here in Stockholm, we have as usual our CFO, Mats Wallin, and our VP Corporate Communications, Mats Odman, and myself, Jan Carlson, President and Chief Executive Officer. We will open up today’s earnings call with a quick review of our first quarter results, including an overview of general business conditions, then we will focus on the outlook and how we see our business improving throughout the remainder of 2012. At the conclusion of this presentation, we will remain available to respond to your questions.

At this time, we have had some problems with our website, so I turn over to Mats to give us some guidance on how to get the presentation.

Mats Odman

Yes, I’m afraid that the direct link that we have on our website typically for downloading the presentation, we have had some problems. I don’t know if they’ve managed to get it fixed by now, but if they haven’t you should be worried because there is another way that you can get the slides downloaded. You go to our website and on the first page there you click on News, Calendar, and when that page opens you go to Live Webcast Slideshow and log in. Then, you will be able to follow the slide presentation there and also download the slides from that page, so it should still work. Thank you.

Jan Carlson

Okay, thank you Mats. With that, we’ll turn the page where we find the Safe Harbor statement, which as you know is an integrated part of the presentation. During the presentation, we will reference some non-U.S. GAAP measures. The reconciliations to U.S. GAAP are disclosed in our quarterly press release and in the 10Q.

Moving on to the next page, we continue to execute on our growth and operational strategies. In the first quarter we achieved a new record sales of $2.2 billion. This was mainly due to our strong growth in active safety China and Korea. This record sale performance was despite European light vehicle registration in March was the lowest level in 15 years.

We met our EBIT margin guidance of 10% for the first quarter and we are on track to achieve our full-year margin indication of 10 to 11%, excluding costs related to capacity alignments and anti-trust investigations. We now anticipate the cost for the capacity alignment program to be in the range of 60 to $80 million in 2012. The majority of the cash outlay and savings for this are expected to be in 2013 and ’14.

Over the last several quarters, we have gradually capacity in the growth markets and stepped up our technology investments for active safety. We will see the benefits from these investments accelerating during the second half of this year as we continue to increase our market share in both active safety and in China.

Regarding the anti-trust investigations, we are able to report that we are making progress. Based on the current status of the U.S. investigation, the company has recorded an accrual of $14.5 million U.S. in the first quarter results. This reflects management’s best estimate at this time of the fine for the final resolution of the DOJ investigation. Otherwise, there is no further information that we are able to discuss since both investigations are still ongoing.

On to the next page, our sales increase of slightly more than 3% was one percentage point better than our guidance. The year-over-year margin decline of approximately 2% was due to higher raw material and R&D expense and our facility investments for growth along with underutilized facilities in Europe as a consequence of the sharp decline in light vehicle production. The negative raw material price effect of $15 million was in line with our expectation and should remain flat throughout the remainder of the year. Excluding the effects of the capacity alignment costs, our return on capital employed and return on equity remain very strong at 26 and 17% respectively.

And lastly, our dividend paid to shareholders in the first quarter of $0.45 per share was the highest ever, and the total dividend amount paid was 29% higher than the previous high before the financial crisis in 2007. Since reinstating the dividend in 2010, we have returned almost one-third of our free cash flow to shareholders.

Turning the page, we have the quarter one light vehicle production according to IHS. The light vehicle production was up 6% year-over-year. Our organic sales growth of 5% was according to our guidance. We continued to outperform global light vehicle production in regions except North America and Japan, and that’s due to the tsunami rebound effect. Since we have relatively low content in Japanese vehicles, this creates a temporary negative effect. Excluding the tsunami effect, we believe we would have outperformed the global light vehicle production with approximately 2%.

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