American Axle takes $485M charge in Q4, but outlook bullish for 2019

American Axle takes $485M charge in Q4, but outlook bullish for 2019

DETROIT — American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. said it posted a fourth-quarter loss following a major one-time noncash charge of $485.5 million, but the company’s shares still surged on Wall Street.

The driveline supplier reported a fourth-quarter net loss of about $361.8 million compared with net income of $106.3 million in 2017.

Revenue for the quarter fell 2.3 percent to $1.69 billion. The supplier reported a $88.5 million income tax benefit compared with a tax benefit of $13.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Adjusted earnings during the quarter fell 17 percent to $244 million.

Despite the loss, American Axle’s shares gained 14.5 percent to close at $16.83 during a robust day on Wall Street. American Axle’s fourth-quarter performance beat Wall Street expectations and the company issued a bullish 2019 forecast.

The Detroit supplier said net results in the fourth quarter and full year reflect the impact of a noncash goodwill impairment charge of $485.5 million related to its casting and powertrain segments. Casting sales for the fourth quarter fell 2.5 percent to $218.5 million from a year earlier, and adjusted earnings for the segment decreased 17 percent to $10.6 million, the supplier said. The segment faced issues in the third quarter, including operational inefficiencies and inflationary pressures, American Axle said.

Fourth-quarter powertrain sales fell 3.3 percent to $262.9 million. The company said the segment faced launch-performance issues and capacity constraints in the third quarter of 2018.

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