Delphi to buy cabling firm for $1.7B, 2Q net income up

Staff and wire reports

Delphi Automotive Plc, the former car-parts unit of General Motors Co., agreed to buy cabling-gear maker HellermannTyton Group Plc for 1.07 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) among a set of acquisitions it announced Thursday to expand in vehicle connectivity and automated driving.

The auto supplier, based in England but with a major presence in Troy, also announced second quarter net income of $645 million, up from $382 million in the period a year ago. During the quarter, Delphi closed on the sale of its thermal business to Mahle, earning about $660 million or $285 million after taxes.

When excluding special items, Delphi’s earnings per share totaled $1.34 per share in the quarter, which slightly beat analysts’ expectations. The company posted revenue of $3.86 billion, down about 5.3 percent from a year ago, due to unfavorable currency impacts, Delphi said.

“Delphi’s strong financial results and record second quarter margins are the result of another quarter of outstanding operating performance and the continued execution of our strategy to generate growth,” Delphi President and CEO Kevin Clark said in a statement.

Delphi said the purchase of England-based HellermannTyton, a manufacturer of ties, insulation and protection systems for automotive cables, will enable it to capitalize on growing demand for cars that connect to mobile phones and other devices.

“Delphi continues to be focused on the car of the future,” said Chris McNally, an analyst at Evercore ISI in London who recommends buying the shares. “It’s leading this charge into the connected cars space.”

The company also said it bought a maker of automated-driving software and took stakes in a producer of technology that helps cars avoid objects and an engine-control software developer.

Delphi said it plans to complete the HellermannTyton deal late in the fourth quarter. The auto supplier will use proceeds from the sale of its thermal business and debt to fund the transaction. Delphi expects the deal to boost earnings per share in 2016 by 15 cents.

“With consumers now demanding more connectivity in their vehicles, electrical architecture is the enabler to that added vehicle content,” Clark said in a statement. The purchase also allows Delphi to expand into products for other industries, such as aerospace, defense, alternative energy and mass transit, he said.

While the purchase is “not cheap,” it’s in line with recent profit multiples in deals such as Magna International Inc.’s planned 1.75 billion-euro acquisition of German transmissions maker Getrag and BorgWarner Inc.’s $951 million bid for hybrid-motor manufacturer Remy International Inc., Evercore’s McNally said.

Other deals announced by Delphi on Thursday included the takeover of automated-driving technology producer Ottomatika; Delphi said it is combining Ottomatika’s technology with Delphi’s active safety systems to create an automated driving platform that allows the vehicle to make “human-like” decisions. It also invested in Quanergy Systems Inc., a company that develops light detection and ranging scanners enabling cars to locate objects and generate digital maps. Quanergy makes 3D Light Detection and Ranging (LiDar) scanners.

Delphi said the acquisitions will help its advanced driver assistance systems and could speed up adoption of autonomous vehicles. The supplier said it is working with Quanergy on a “low-cost, high performance” LiDar products for the auto industry and use in automation that could bring “widespread adoption of the life-saving active safety technology.”

It also bought a minority stake in Silicon Valley-based Tula Technology Inc., which makes software to increase fuel efficiency and cut emissions. GM’s investment arm GM Ventures also has invested in Tula and has said its technology could be used in future GM gasoline powered vehicles to help improve fuel economy.

Delphi agreed to sell its reception-systems business, which consists of automotive antennas and in-vehicle TV tuners, to Chinese automotive supplier Northeast Industries Group Corp. The U.S.-U.K. company expects to complete the sale in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed for any of the deals other than HellermannTyton.

Delphi says for the year, it expects revenue of $15.2 billion to $15.6 billion, up 7 percent year-over-year but down $100 million from previous estimates due in part to the slowdown in China. The supplier for the year also is projecting 4 percent overall growth in China, a market where it began to see some “significant weakness” in late June, executives said during a call with analysts.

It expects earnings per share of $5.30 to $5.40, down slightly from earlier guidance.