Meanwhile, the supplier’s revenue rose about 9 percent to $1.6 billion, partially as a result of its consolidation of Tekfor Group over the past year. The supplier acquired the metal forming technologies company in a deal valued at more than $135 million in a push to bolster its electrification portfolio. American Axle attributed $69 million in sales to the acquisition year over year.
May said that sales gains continued to be offset by “intermittent downtime at a number of our customers.”
“Although it has become more difficult to pinpoint the cause of this downtime, we believe it is a combination of continuous supply chain challenges, including the lack of labor availability, and active inventory management by our customers,” he added.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell only slightly, down about 1.8 percent to $191.6 million, while operating income rose 0.17 percent to $57.8 million.
American Axle announced a contract to supply two-in-one E-beam axles for light duty trucks for a Chinese automaker. CEO David Dauch did not name the automaker. Executives also announced contracts to supply EV components for multiple North American and European programs, though the brands were again unnamed.
R&D spending increased $2 million, a reflection of product launches and electrification technology development, May said. Executives reaffirmed a commitment to a transition to EVs throughout the call, but Dauch hedged somewhat with a tone of caution.
“I just think electrification is going to take a little bit longer to be fully adopted because there’s a number of issues that have to be addressed,” he said. His concerns included “the infrastructure standpoint, the charging station standpoint, to affordability of materials, to the affordability from a consumer standpoint.”
Shares of American Axle dropped 9.5 percent to $8.31 in afternoon trading Friday. The supplier primarily manufactures drivetrain components and systems.
American Axle ranks No. 47 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $5.8 billion in 2022.