Accordingly, HELLA generated sales of €2.0 billion. Compared to the first quarter of the calendar year 2022, this means growth of 14.4 percent (Q1 CY 2022: €1.7 billion1). Global vehicle production increased by 5.7 percent in the same period.
Operating income improved by 10.3 percent to €111 million (Q1 CY 2022: €101 million); the operating income margin amounts to 5.6 percent and is largely at the prior-year level (Q1 CY 2022: 5.8 percent). Due to high investments implemented to sustain future growth and the significantly improved sales performance, the net cash flow in relation to sales amounts to -1.9 percent (Q1 CY 2022: 2.1 percent).
“The start into the new year was very strong overall. Our growth is more than twice as high as that of the global automotive market. This highlights our ability to grow disproportionately on the basis of our forward-looking business model,” says HELLA CEO Michel Favre. “The profitability of the first quarter is also in line with our expectations. It reflects on the one hand, our ability to compensate the impact of price increases, and includes on the other hand, significant investments in research and development made to deliver our fast-growing backlog.”
All Business Groups record double-digit sales growth
The successful start to the fiscal year was driven by all Business Groups, reporting double-digit sales growth. Compared to the first quarter of the calendar year 2022, the Electronics Business Group increased its sales by 10.9 percent to €842 million (Q1 CY 2022: €759 million), benefiting from high demand for radar sensors, high-voltage battery management systems and other core products from the electronics portfolio. Due to strong customer demand for sophisticated lighting solutions, as well as continuous series launches, the Lighting Business Group’s sales improved by 19.4 percent to €955 million (Q1 CY 2022: €799 million). In the Lifecycle Solutions Business Group, sales increased by 10.7 percent to €283 million (Q1 CY 2022: €255 million), driven by a strong spare parts and workshop business, as well as a positive development in the agricultural and construction machinery sector.
Company outlook for the fiscal year 2023 is confirmed
For the full fiscal year 2023 (1 January to 31 December 2023), HELLA continues to expect currency and portfolio-adjusted Group sales between around €8.0 billion and 8.5 billion. The operating income margin is still forecast to be between around 5.5 and 7.0 percent. Regarding net cash flow in relation to sales, the company continues to forecast a target value of approximately 2 percent. This outlook is based on HELLA’s expected global vehicle production of around 82 million vehicles.
“The results for the first quarter are fully in line with our expectations. In terms of sales, we expect to accelerate our successful business development in the following quarters and thus generate record sales in 2023,” Favre continues. “We expect the operating income margin and the expected net cash flow in relation to sales to be initially lower in the first half of the fiscal year. Here, however, we will gradually improve through higher sales volumes, the efficient management of cost structures and the passing on of price increases in the further course of the fiscal year. Synergies from the cooperation with Faurecia will give us additional momentum here.”