Mélange Tech Updates

China Automotive Systems Reports 77.0% Net Sales Increase and Return to Profitability in the First Quarter of 2021

WUHAN, China, May 12, 2021 China Automotive Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAAS) (“CAAS” or the “Company”), a leading power steering components and systems supplier in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2021.

First Quarter 2021 Highlights

  • Net sales rose 77.0% to $130.3 million from $73.6 million in the first quarter of 2020

  • Gross profit increased 75.9% to $19.7 million from $11.2 million in the first quarter of 2020; gross margin was 15.1% compared with 15.2% in the first quarter of 2020

  • Income from operations increased 320.0% to $4.2 million from $1.0 million in the first quarter of 2020

  • Net income attributable to parent company’s common shareholders was $3.2 million, or diluted income of per share of $0.10, compared to net loss attributable to parent company’s common shareholders of $0.03 million, in the first quarter of 2020 

  • Cash and cash equivalents, and pledged cash were $122.0 million as of March 31, 2021

Mr. Qizhou Wu, chief executive officer of CAAS, commented, “We are excited to report accelerated top line growth in the first quarter driven by increased demand in each of our key markets – Chinese OEM passenger vehicles, Chinese OEM commercial vehicles and exports to North and South America.” 

“According to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (“CAAM”), automobile sales in China rose by 75.6% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021 as passenger vehicle sales grew 75.1% year-over-year and commercial vehicle sales increased by 77.3% year-over-year.”
“Each of our operational units achieved sales growth and was profitable in the first quarter of 2021 as all our manufacturing lines were operating at a high utilization rate. Our sales to the Chinese commercial vehicle OEMs rose by approximately 169% year-over-year and sales of our electric power steering products (“EPS”) by our Henglong KYB joint venture rose by 200% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021.  North American sales rose by 26.3% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021, and our Brazil Henglong joint venture has already announced an expected 200% increase in unit sales in South America for the 2021 year.”

“We have increased our investment in research and development by 28.6% as automobile technology continues to evolve.  Our new EPS system integrates and communicates with the vehicles’ main data architecture to provide key Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) functions including lane keeping assist (LKA), automatic parking assist (APA), lane centering (LCK) and traffic jam assist (TJA).  Other new products are under development as well as ongoing efforts to improve the performance and quality of current steering products. Our new products will continue to provide new growth opportunities and solidify our leadership role in the global steering market.”

Mr. Jie Li, chief financial officer of CAAS, commented, “We continued to maintain our financial strength even as we increased investment and expenditures in the first quarter of 2021 to support our growth as we maintained our cash levels, accounts receivable and payable amounts, and our inventories.”

First Quarter of 2021

Net sales increased by 77.0% to $130.3 million in the first quarter of 2021, compared to $73.6 million in the first quarter of 2020.  The net sales increase was mainly due to the recovery of the Chinese economy and Chinese automobile demand post-COVID-19.  Net sales of traditional steering products and parts increased by 61.2% to $105.6 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $65.5 million for the same period in 2020.  Net sales of electric power steering (“EPS”) products rose 204.9% to $24.7 million from $8.1 million for the same period in 2020.  EPS product sales were 19.0% of the total net sales for the first quarter of 2021, compared with 11.0% for the same period in 2020.  Export net sales rose 30.4% to $40.7 million in the first quarter of 2021 compared with $31.2 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Gross profit rose by 75.9% to $19.7 million compared to $11.2 million in the first quarter of 2020. Gross margin in the first quarter of 2021 was 15.1% generally consistent with the 15.2% in the first quarter of 2020.

Gain on other sales was $1.3 million, compared to $0.6 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Selling expenses were $5.6 million compared to $2.1 million in the first quarter of 2020. This increase in selling expenses was primarily due to higher sales volumes and increased air freight charges. Selling expenses represented 4.3% of net sales in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2.9% in the first quarter of 2020.

General and administrative expenses (“G&A expenses”) were $4.6 million compared to $3.4 million in the first quarter of 2020. The increase in G&A expenses was primarily due to higher personnel costs to support the increase in net sales. G&A expenses represented 3.5% of net sales in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 4.6% of net sales in the first quarter of 2020.  

Research and development expenses (“R&D expenses”) were $6.7 million compared to $5.2 million in the first quarter of 2020.  R&D expenses represented 5.1% of net sales in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 7.1% in the first quarter of 2020. 

Other income, net was $1.7 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $0.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020.  The increase of $1.6 million was mainly due to government subsidies of $1.4 million received in the first three months of 2021.

Income from operations was $4.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, compared to $1.0 million in the first quarter of 2020. This growth was primarily due to a higher year-over-year increase in sales and gross profit compared with the increase in operating expenses.   

Interest expense was $0.3 million in the first quarter of 2021, compared to $0.4 million in the first quarter of 2020, primarily due to less loans.

Net financial expense was $0.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, compared to $0.5 million in the first quarter of 2020. The reduction in net financial expense was primarily due to less foreign exchange losses.

Income before income tax expenses and equity in earnings of affiliated companies was $5.3 million in the first quarter of 2021, compared to $0.2 million in the first quarter of 2020. The increase in income before income tax expenses and equity in earnings of affiliated companies in the first quarter of 2021 was mainly due to higher income from operations and higher other income.

Net income attributable to parent company’s common shareholders was $3.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, compared to a net loss attributable to parent company’s common shareholders of $0.03 million in the first quarter of 2020.  Diluted income per share was $0.10 in the first quarter of 2021, compared to nil per share in the first quarter of 2020.

The weighted average number of diluted common shares outstanding was 30,857,736 in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 31,174,045 in the first quarter of 2020.

Balance Sheet

As of March 31, 2021, total cash and cash equivalents, and pledged cash were $122.0 million, total accounts receivable including notes receivable were $236.6 million, accounts payable including notes payable were $223.9 million and short-term bank and government loans were $46.2 million. Total parent company stockholders’ equity was $304.4 million as of March 31, 2021, compared to $303.2 million as of December 31, 2020.  

Business Outlook

Management raises revenue guidance for the full year 2021 to $485 million from $470 million. This target is based on the Company’s current views on operating and market conditions, which are subject to change.

Conference Call

Management will conduct a conference call on May 12, 2021 at 8:00 A.M. EDT/8:00 P.M. Beijing Time to discuss these results. A question and answer session will follow management’s presentation. To participate, please call the following numbers 10 minutes before the call start time and ask to be connected to the “China Automotive Systems” conference call:

US Toll Free:               +1-877-407-8031

International:               +1-201-689-8031

China (toll free):          + 86 400 120 2840

A replay of the call will be available on the Company’s website under the investor relations section.

About China Automotive Systems, Inc.

Based in Hubei Province, the People’s Republic of China, China Automotive Systems, Inc. is a leading supplier of power steering components and systems to the Chinese automotive industry, operating through ten Sino-foreign joint ventures. The Company offers a full range of steering system parts for passenger automobiles and commercial vehicles. The Company currently offers four separate series of power steering with an annual production capacity of over 6 million sets of steering gears, columns and steering hoses. Its customer base is comprised of leading auto manufacturers, such as China FAW Group, Corp., Dongfeng Auto Group Co., Ltd., BYD Auto Company Limited, Beiqi Foton Motor Co., Ltd. and Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. in China, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Ford Motor Company in North America. For more information, please visit: http://www.caasauto.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains statements that are “forward-looking statements” as defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this press release. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding the qualitative and quantitative effects of the accounting errors, the periods involved, the nature of the Company’s review and any anticipated conclusions of the Company or its management and other statements that are not historical facts. Our actual results may differ materially from the results described in or anticipated by our forward-looking statements due to certain risks and uncertainties. As a result, the Company’s actual results could differ materially from those contained in these forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including those described under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Form 10-K annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 30, 2021, and in documents subsequently filed by the Company from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If the outbreak of COVID-19 is not effectively and timely controlled, our business operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected as a result of the deteriorating market outlook for automobile sales, the slowdown in regional and national economic growth, weakened liquidity and financial condition of our customers or other factors that we cannot foresee. Any of these factors and other factors beyond our control, could have an adverse effect on the overall business environment, cause uncertainties in the regions where we conduct business, cause our business to suffer in ways that we cannot predict and materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. We expressly disclaim any duty to provide updates to any forward-looking statements made in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Disclaimer: The following Press Release comes to you under a network of a strategic syndication partnership with PR Newswire. Prittle Prattle News takes no editorial responsibility for the same.

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