Southfield-based Lear Corp., a global supplier of automotive seating and electrical systems, today released its financial results for last year, and reported record sales.
Lear achieved $18.6 billion in sales in 2016, a 2 percent increase from last year, and up 5 percent excluding the impact of foreign exchange and commodity prices.
The sales were the biggest the company has ever seen, despite a downtick in the fourth quarter. More impressive was Lear’s core operating earnings, which jumped 17 percent from last year to $1.5 billion.
Stockholders also so a big jump in their investment as Lear reported record earnings per share of $13.33 and adjusted earnings per share of $14.03, up 39 percent and 29 percent respectively from 2015.
“We just completed our most successful year ever, as the investments that we have made in our business are paying off,” says Matt Simoncini, president and CEO of Lear. “We achieved record performance in all key financial metrics, (and we) continued to improve our cost structure and strengthened our product capabilities. We also continued to reward our shareholders in 2016 with a 20 percent increase in our dividend, the purchase of nearly six million of our shares outstanding, and a free cash flow yield of 11 percent.”
Simonocini says over the past five years the company has delivered a total return to shareholders of 250 percent, which is twice the market average and more than any of the company’s peers. He went on to say that he thinks Lear will continue to be profitable.
“We have a record sales backlog, and we are uniquely positioned to continue to deliver profitable growth and superior total shareholder returns,” he says.
The company projects 2017 sales will be around $19.5 billion, and core operating earnings are expected to be about $1.6 billion. Net cash provided by operating activities is estimated to be $1.6 billion, and capital spending is expected to be $550 million, resulting in free cash flow in excess of $1 billion.