American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. said Friday it earned $31.6 million, or 41 cents a share, in the third quarter, up significantly over the net loss of $8.1 million, or 11 cents a share, it posted in the period a year ago.
But resultsfor the Detroit-based automotive supplier fell short of analyst estimates who were looking for the company to earn about 55 cents a share and had expected higher revenue.
Its shares fell 35 cents (1.88 percent), closing at $18.26 Friday.
Revenue was down because American Axle said a customer canceled a capacity increase program that the supplier had expected to begin in June in Thailand. The supplier also adjusted down a projected future annual sales backlog to $1 billion from $1.25 billion for products launching in 2013 through 2015.
“We’re pleased with the quarter,” American Axle Chief Financial Officer Michael Simonte said in a phone interview. “We had good solid sales growth, good profit conversion and good positive cash flow.”
American Axle Chairman, President and CEO David C. Dauch, in an earnings call with analysts, also put some of the blame for an axle production issue on General Motors Co.
GM North America Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens on Wednesday said GM has had “short-term” production issues with American Axle, affecting its mix of V-8 pickups. GM, which is launching all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierras, said production would be made up in the fourth quarter.
Dauch said there were unanticipated shifts in powertrain mix demand from consumers. The companies are working together on the issue and Dauch said American Axle will look at increasing capacity. Simonte said American Axle has shipped “tens of thousands of more axles above and beyond our capacity requirements.”
“This is a great problem to have,” Dauch said. “The truck is red hot in the marketplace.”
A union official with UAW Local 2209 told The Detroit News this week that GM’s Fort Wayne Assembly Plant, for three to four weeks, was able to produce 1,300 trucks a day instead of 1,500. Dauch told analysts that GM’s Fort Wayne plant typically used about 15 percent capacity to build heavy-duty trucks, but currently isn’t building any. When it again builds heavy-duty trucks, that also will help with the axle mix issue, Dauch said. GM declined comment Friday.
American Axle’s sales hit $820.8 million in the quarter, up 16.8 percent from July through September of 2012. The company’s sales to non-GM customers totaled $234.7 million in the quarter, up 18.1 percent compared to the same 2012 period. According to the company, it has about 11,700 employees worldwide, and has 30 facilities in 13 countries.