Littelfuse earnings and sales tumble due to weak market, high inventories

Littelfuse’s LSIC2SD065CxxA and LSIC2SD065AxxA Series second-generation 650V, AEC-Q101-qualified silicon carbide (SiC) Schottky diodes
Circuit protection and power control devices supplier Littelfuse posted declines in both its 2019 fourth quarter and full year sales. (Littelfuse)

Circuit protection and power control devices supplier Littelfuse Inc. posted lackluster results for both its fourth quarter and full year ended December 28, 2019.

For the fourth quarter of 2019, Littelfuse reported net sales of $338.5 million, down 16% versus the prior year period, which the company attributed to ongoing global trade uncertainties, excess electronics channel inventories. and declines in global auto production. GAAP diluted earnings per share were 92 cents, and adjusted diluted earnings per share were $1.17, which included an $0.11 benefit related to a lower effective tax rate versus the forecasted rate.

Compared to the same quarter a year ago, Littelfuse sales fell 21% in its electronic segment, 9% in its automotive segment, and 7% in its industrial segment.

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For the full 2019 year, Littelfuse reported net sales of $1.5 billion, down 13% versus the prior year period. GAAP diluted EPS was $5.60; adjusted diluted EPS was $6.82.

Compared to 2018, sales fell 15% in electronics and 11% in automotive. Industrial sales were flat. Cash flow from operations was $245.3 million, and free cash flow was $183.4 million.

“Our global teams remained focused on driving long-term growth, profitability and cash generation within a challenging 2019 macro environment," said Dave Heinzmann, Littelfuse President and Chief Executive Officer, in a statement. "We actively managed costs to align to business conditions and advanced several strategic initiatives across the end markets we serve. Looking ahead, we remain confident that our leading technologies, global footprint, close customer relationships, and talented associates position our company for profitable growth through the course of 2020.”

For the first quarter of 2020, the company projects net sales ranging from $352 to $364 million, and adjusted diluted earnings per share of $1.21 to $1.35.

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