DETROIT — American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings said earnings and revenue slipped during the first quarter as it grappled with the COVID-19 crisis, but the company said operating results remained strong under the circumstances.
Shares in American Axle surged on the news, rising 40 percent to close at $5.96 on Friday.
Adjusted earnings, after interest, taxes and other onetime deductions, fell 13 percent to $213 million during the quarter. The company said COVID-19 costs took a $47 million bite out of those EBITDA results.
On a call Friday, CFO Chris May credited the positive adjusted EBITDA performance to high productivity and low launch costs.
In the statement, the company reported first-quarter net sales dropped 22 percent to $1.34 billion.
The company previously targeted sales of $5.8 billion to $6 billion in 2020, lower than in previous years.
American Axle joins other suppliers — including Aptiv, BorgWarner, Magna, Lear Corp. and Tenneco — in reporting earnings this week amid the ongoing pandemic.
The company reported a first-quarter net loss of $501.3 million, compared with a net gain of $41.6 million in the same period last year. American Axle also reported a pretax goodwill impairment of $510 million.
Adjusted free cash flow during the quarter fell 56 percent to $83.3 million.
The supplier's core driveline sales declined 12 percent to $1.03 billion, while sales in its metal-forming business dropped 13 percent to $422.3 million.
CEO David Dauch said the company had strong operating performance and free cash flow in the first quarter.
"We expect this unprecedented health crisis and related effect on global light-vehicle production and consumer demand to further impact AAM's financial results in the second quarter of 2020," he said.