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American Axle and Manufacturing Inc. (AXL - Analyst Report) reported second-quarter 2013 earnings of 34 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 30 cents. However, earnings per share plunged 38.2% from 55 cents per share in the comparable quarter of 2012 (excluding special items). Net income declined 37.4% to $25.8 million from $41.2 million reported in the second quarter of 2012.

Revenues went up 8.1% to $799.6 million compared with $739.8 million in the second quarter of 2012.  However, it missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $817 million. The results had favorable impact from recovery in the North American light truck market together with the launch of new products ensuring fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and improved safety.

American Axle’s content-per-vehicle – dollar value of its product sales supporting North American light truck and SUV programs– increased 8% to $1,554 from $1,439 in the second quarter of 2012. The company’s non - General Motors Company (GM - Analyst Report) sales increased 12.9% to $223.8 million from $198.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

Gross profit improved 42.4% to $122.2 million or 15.3% of sales in second quarter 2013 from $85.8 million or 11.6% in the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, operating income jumped significantly to $61.7 million or 7.7% of sales from $30.3 million or 4.1% of sales a year ago.

Financial Position

American Axle had cash and cash equivalents of $78.9 million as of Jun 30, 2013, up from $62.4 million as of Dec 31, 2012. Long-term debt increased to $1.55 million as of Jun 30, 2013 compared with $1.45 billion as of Dec 31, 2012.

Cash outflow from operations in the first half of 2013 escalated to $33.2 million from $24.6 million in the first half of 2012. Net capital spending of the company was $116.6 million compared with $91.7 million in the same period of 2012. Therefore, American Axle had free cash flow use of $67.4 million in the quarter compared with $67.1 million in the corresponding period in 2012.

Our Take

American Axle is a leading supplier of driveline systems, modules and components for the light vehicle market. The company makes axles, driveshaft and chassis components for light trucks, sport utility vehicles and passenger cars.

The company expects to benefit from its numerous new global product launches featuring advanced technology and customer diversification. Currently, it retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other stocks that are performing well in the industry include Visteon Corp. (VC - Snapshot Report) and Gentex Corp. (GNTX - Snapshot Report). They carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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