Lear reports steep Q1 growth in seating, E-Systems

DETROIT – Lear Corp. said first-quarter net income more than doubled to $204 million even amid supply chain volatility associated with the chip shortage and other challenges.

Lear joined several suppliers that reported first-quarter earnings this week as the semiconductor shortage continues to halt automaker production lines.

The suburban Detroit seating and electronics supplier said Friday that sales grew 20 percent to $5.4 billion. Lear attributed the growth to higher volumes, a favorable platform mix, the impact of foreign exchange rates and a strong backlog.

Free cash flow rose 19 percent to $135 million, the company said.

Lear’s core seating business reported adjusted earnings of $307 million, up 53 percent, while its sales grew 19 percent to $4 billion.

Lear’s E-Systems business posted adjusted earnings of $95 million, surging 81 percent, whiles the unit’s sales increased 24 percent to $1.36 billion.

Shares of Lear closed Friday’s trading up 1.5 percent to $195.12.

“Our purchasing, logistics and engineering teams are laser-focused on managing” through the industry crises, including the chip shortage and higher commodity prices, CEO Ray Scott told investors in a call Friday. “We continue to invest to strengthen our business during these challenging times.”

“We took advantage of the downtime last year to refine our strategy,” Scott said.

Lear anticipates full-year net sales of $20.35 billion to $21.15 billion, which it said reflects the semiconductor and other component shortages impacting the industry.

The company said it expects these impacts “to continue in the second quarter, and to a lesser extent, in the second half of the year.”

Lear Corp. ranks No. 9 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide parts sales to automakers of $19.81 billion in 2019.

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