Hella has started off fiscal year 2018/2019 with a strong increase in sales and earnings. It says consolidated sales, adjusted for currency effects, rose by 10.3% in the first quarter (1 June to 31 August 2018) and reported sales increased by 9.7% to EUR1.8bn (US$2.11bn) (prior year: EUR1.6bn).

At the same time, the adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (adjusted EBIT) increased by 12.0% to EUR140m (prior year: EUR125m), bringing the adjusted EBIT margin to 7.8% (prior year: 7.7%). Taking special effects into account, the reported earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by 12.5% to EUR139m (prior year: EUR123m), with the reported EBIT margin also reaching 7.8% (prior year: 7.6%).

“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,” said 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% to EUR1.4bn (prior year: EUR1.2bn). 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% to EUR106m (prior year: EUR91m). This equates to an increase in the adjusted EBIT margin to 7.6% (prior year: 7.3%).

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% to EUR174m (prior year: EUR163m) 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% to EUR15m (prior year: EUR13m), with the adjusted EBIT margin therefore reaching 8.4% (last year: 8.2%) in the first quarter.

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 (1 June 2018 to 31 May 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% each, and expects an adjusted EBIT margin that is approximately the equivalent to the value of the prior year.

Selected key financial figures for the first three months (1 June to 31 August):

  • Reported consolidated sales: Q1 2018-19 – EUR1,787m; Q1 2017-18 – EUR1,629m; change – 9.70%
  • Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (adjusted EBIT): Q1 2018-19 – EUR140m; Q1 2017-18 – EUR125m; change – 12.00%
  • Reported earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT): Q1 2018-19 – EUR139m; Q1 2017-18 – EUR123m; change – 12.50%
  • Adjusted EBIT margin: Q1 2018-19 – EUR7.80%m; Q1 2017-18 – EUR7.70%m; change – +0.1 pp
  • Reported EBIT margin: Q1 2018-19 – EUR7.80%m; Q1 2017-18 – EUR7.60%m; change – +0.2 pp