The US-headquartered automotive technology company has reported its fourth quarter and full year results for fiscal year 2021.In the fourth quarter, sales fell 7% year on year to US $ 4.9 billion, reflecting the difficulties with the global semiconductor deficit. However, for the full year, Lear was able to sustain growth with sales of US $ 19.3 billion, an increase of 13% over 2020.
The company returned US $ 207 million in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases, and in the fourth quarter, it increased its quarterly cash dividend to US $ 0.77 per share pre-epidemic level.
Lear reported that its seating market share increased in 2021 from 23% to 25% and that a US$3.3 billion backlog for 2022-24 supports continued growth over market in seating and e-systems, driven by new business and its growing electrification business.
Global vehicle production was significantly impacted by the pandemic and global semiconductor shortages in 2021 and, subsequently, the company reported that global vehicle production increased by just 3% over 2020. Regionally, North America was flat for 2021, Europe was down 4% and China up 5%.
Looking forward, Lear President and CEO Ray Scott said: “While we expect industry production volumes to improve in 2022, we are still facing uncertainties related to the Covid-19 pandemic, semiconductor shortages and inflationary pressures. I remain optimistic about Lear’s prospects as we have a very strong backlog of new business launching over the next three years. In addition, consumer demand remains extremely robust and industry inventory levels remain historically low, indicating that the auto industry is primed for a sustained recovery in production volumes.”