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Autoliv posts quarterly profit beat as sales recover from pandemic blow

Sweden's Autoliv, the world's largest producer of airbags and seatbelts, reported higher than expected quarterly earnings on Friday as it returned to profit in the wake of a plunge in car production due to the pandemic.

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STOCKHOLM, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Sweden's Autoliv ALIVsdb.STALV.N, the world's largest producer of airbags and seatbelts, reported higher than expected quarterly earnings on Friday as it returned to profit in the wake of a plunge in car production due to the pandemic.

The Sweden-based rival of ZF TRW and Joyson Safety Systems also said that for the full year it expected to further outperform global light vehicle production during a "very busy" fourth quarter for order intake.

"The worst demand decline on record in the second quarter was followed by a faster than expected recovery in the third quarter, with its challenges of managing the supply chain," CEO Mikael Bratt said in a statement.

"The quarter started weak and volatile but gradually grew stronger and more stable and we managed to record higher sales, higher profits and higher cash flow compared to the third quarter 2019."

Autoliv reported a third-quarter operating profit of $175 million compared with a $154 million profit in the year-ago quarter and a mean forecast of $163 million based on a poll of analysts published by the company.

On an adjusted basis, operating earnings were $206 million in the quarter, up from a year-ago $183 million.

Autoliv slammed the brakes on spending and moved to bolster its cash position as the pandemic and related lockdowns saw auto production shudder to a standstill across much of Europe and North America, but it still slumped to a loss in the second quarter.

Since then, production and demand has staged a recovery, though worries have grown amid a renewed and vigorous spread of the disease in large swaths of Europe and the United States.

In its first stab at full-year guidance since the initial peak of the pandemic, it said it expected a 13% decline in like-for-like sales and an adjusted operating margin of 6%.

The automotive supplier's Swedish-listed shares rose 1.8% by 1015 GMT.

(Reporting by Niklas Pollard, Editing by Helena Soderpalm and Hugh Lawson)

((Niklas.Pollard@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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