Manufacturers

Littelfuse posts strong 4Q, actively seeks acquisitions

Littlelfuse, a manufacturer of circuit protection products and provider of product solutions, today reported sales of $158.8 million for the fourth quarter, an 8% increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Electrical sales increased 15% year over year due to continued strong growth in custom products and solid performance for power fuses, the company said.

“The fourth quarter came in consistent with our guidance with weak electronics sales, solid automotive performance and continued strong growth in electrical,” said Gordon Hunter, chief executive officer for Littelfuse. “It was a challenging second half of the year with the overall weakness in Europe, soft global electronics markets and declining commercial vehicle demand. Despite these challenges we finished 2012 with our second-best performance ever for operating income and record free cash flow (after excluding pension contributions).

“While the first quarter of 2013 will be challenging as well, we are encouraged by the recent uptick in orders in our electronics and commercial vehicle businesses. If these trends continue, this should lead to improved performance beginning in the second quarter,” added Hunter.

The company also said it intends to be looking for acquisitions.

“We are active on the M&A (mergers and acquisitions) front and the pipeline is strong,” said Phil Franklin, chief financial officer.

For the full year, sales were $667.9 million for 2012 compared to $665.0 million for 2011. Excluding approximately $16 million of incremental sales from acquisitions and approximately $9 million of unfavorable currency effects, sales declined less than 1% year over year as strong growth in the electrical business was more than offset by lower electronics sales reflecting weakness in the telecom and PC end markets in addition to channel inventory destocking.

Sales for the first quarter of 2013 are expected to be in the range of $158 to $168 million.

The company will pay a cash dividend of $0.20 per common share on March 7, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 20, 2013.

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