Profit for engine maker Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) fell sharply in the final quarter of last year due to lower global demand for its products, leading it to scale down plans for its new light-duty engines in North America, while Daimler AG saw record profits for 2015, according to numbers issued by the companies Thursday.
Cummins net income fell to $161 million in the final three months of 2015, or 92 cents per diluted share, compared to $444 million, or $2.44 per diluted share, a year earlier.
Excluding special charges, net income was $368 million in the most recent quarter, or $2.09 per share, 4 cents less than expectations by Zacks Investment Research. That's down from $465 million, or $2.56 per diluted share, for the same quarter a year ago.
Fourth quarter revenues of $4.8 billion fell 6% from the same quarter in 2014, as currency exchange rates, primarily a stronger U.S. dollar, negatively affected sales by 4%, according to the Indiana-based company. North American revenue declined 2% while international sales fell by 12%. Within international markets, sales in Latin America declined the most.
“As a result of weakening market conditions in the fourth quarter of 2015, the company reviewed its global manufacturing footprint and now expects to scale back the range of light-duty engines it plans to manufacture in North America,” said Rich Freeland, president and chief operating officer. “This change in plans, combined with the uncertainty of winning additional customers for the V-8 light duty engine, caused the company to reassess the book value of its light-duty manufacturing assets in North America.”
As a result, Cummins recorded a charge of $211 million to adjust the book value of its light-duty assets to fair value. The company also recorded a charge for restructuring of $90 million associated with a reduction in professional employees announced last year.
“We are disappointed that we had to record the charge, but we remain committed to our light-duty engine customers and are confident in the growth potential of our global light duty engine business, including the V-8 engine in North America,” Freeland said.
Sales in Cummins engine business in the fourth quarter of 2015 were $2.5 billion, down 11% from a year earlier, while earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) was $189 million in the most recent quarter versus $315 million in the 2014 quarter.
Distribution segment sales increased 1% while component sales fell 6%.
For 2015, Cummins net income totaled $1.4 billion, or $7.84 per diluted share, compared to $1.65 billion, or $9.02 per diluted share for 2014.
Revenues for the year totaled $19.1 billion, 1% lower than 2014. Sales in North America increased 7%, but international sales declined 11% due to declines in Latin America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
“We made significant progress in a number of our key initiatives in 2015, including gaining market share with our new products in China, successfully acquiring and integrating our North American distributors, improving the quality of our products and reducing material costs,” said Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger. “However, a combination of weak end markets and a stronger U.S. dollar presented significant challenges to our performance. As demand weakened in the third quarter we moved quickly to lower costs.”
Based on its current forecast, Cummins expects full year 2016 revenues to decline between 5% and 9%.
More information is on the Cummins website.
Daimler Sets Records
Meantime, at the parent company of truck manufacturers Freightliner and Western Star, among other names in the truck and car market, there was much better news.
Daimler AG (DAI) achieved record levels of unit sales and revenue, with 2015 net profit jumping 23% from 2014 to 8.9 billion euros, or $9.9 billion, according to Agence France-Presse, as earnings per share for 2015 increased to 8.08 euros from 6.51 euros in 2014.
The German company significantly increased its total unit sales in 2015, with around 2.9 million vehicles sold 12% higher than in 2014. This growth was primarily driven by the Mercedes-Benz Cars division. At Daimler Trucks, the growth in unit sales of 1% was lower than expected, mainly due to weak markets in Latin America and Indonesia, according to the company.
Daimler Trucks sold 502,500 vehicles in 2015, the highest level since 2006. Revenue grew by 16% to 37.6 billion euros from 32.4 billion euros. The division’s EBIT of 2.58 billion euros was substantially higher than the 1.89 billion euros achieved in 2014, making for a 37% increase.
Daimler AG's positive earnings report was mainly the result of higher unit sales in North America and Europe, as well as further efficiency improvements for the company and positive exchange-rate effects, according to Daimler.
In addition to the problems in Latin America and Indonesia, other negative factors were "higher expenses for warranties and customer goodwill and for capacity expansion, as well as advance expenditure for new technologies and vehicles,” the company said in a news release.
Looking ahead to 2016, Daimler believes demand for medium- and heavy-duty trucks should be slightly below the prior-year volume overall, but market developments will remain disparate at the regional level.
“In the North American truck market, the gradual weakening of the industrial sector is likely to have a significant impact,” the company said. “From today’s perspective, demand for Classes 6-8 trucks is likely to decrease by approximately 10%. But the European market so far seems to be fairly unaffected by the uncertain development of the world economy, and should continue its recovery with slight growth this year.”
Daimler said the Brazilian market shows no signs of improvement, due to the ongoing economic recession and the continuation of relatively unfavorable financing conditions, and says further market contraction of around 10% has to be expected in 2016. It expects the situation in the Russian market will remain strained, “so demand there can only be expected at about the prior-year level.” Demand in China is likely to be impacted by the growth slowdown in the manufacturing sector.
Demand in Japan for light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks is likely to be solid. The Indonesian truck market is expected to stabilize at the low level of 2015, but In India, significant growth in the segment of medium- and heavy-duty trucks is anticipated.
There are more details on the Daimler website.