Company earningsEquipmentTrucking

Eaton reports lower Q4 sales and earnings

Class 8 manufacturer shutdowns contributed to weaker automotive sales

Power management company Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN) reported lower sales and earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019, partially because of weakness in its automotive business.

Eaton reported sales of $5.23 billion in the October-December period, 4% below the $5.45 billion in the same period of 2018.

Net income was $453 million, or $1.09 per share, down 27% from $631 million, or $1.46 per share in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The results missed the consensus of analysts by 3 cents per share and revenue by $130 million, according to investor site Seeking Alpha.

Eaton took a 28-cents-per-share charge for acquiring and integrating new businesses and divesting others, and 9 cents per share to cover an expected $50 million warranty charge for performance related to a faulty supplier part. Excluding those charges, earnings were flat with the year-ago quarter.

Vehicle segment sales of $664 million were down 19% from the fourth quarter of 2018. Fourth-quarter operating profits of $63 million were down 18%. Excluding the $50 million warranty costs, operating profits were $113 million, down 23% from the fourth quarter of 2018.

Eaton said the impact of a 40-day United Auto Workers strike and downtime at Class 8 truck manufacturers negatively impacted its results.

For all of 2019, Eaton reported revenue of $21.39 billion versus $21.60 billion a year ago. Net profits were $2.21 billion versus $2.14 billion.

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is a Detroit-based award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and most recently as Detroit Bureau Chief for He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.