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Linamar reports strong quarter despite lukewarm auto parts demand

Linamar (TSX:LNR) reported strong fourth-quarter earnings today (March 11) as its surging industrial manufacturing business offset softer demand for auto parts in Europe and Asia.

Linamar, Canada’s second-largest auto parts maker, reported C$1.7 billion in sales in the fourth quarter of 2018, a 10 percent increase, and earnings of C$171.1 million, an 8.2 percent increase. (A Canadian dollar currently is valued at US$0.75.)

It capped off a record year for the Ontario-based company, which reported C$7.6 billion in sales and a profit of $C1.18 billion.

“We are thrilled to deliver another record year at Linamar,” said CEO Linda Hasenfratz. We continue to see record levels of opportunity and market share growth in our transportation business thanks to evolving technologies so well aligned to our capabilities.”

Sales from Linamar’s industrial segment increased by 69.7 percent in the fourth quarter, to

C$353.4 million, driven in large part by the acquisition of the Canadian harvesting-equipment maker MacDon, which helped bolsters its earnings.

Sales from its transportation segment increased by 0.8 percent or C$12.3 million. Linamar cited market declines in Europe and Asia.

“It’s excellent performance considering industry conditions,” Hasenfratz said during a call with market analysts.

The company said it expects to see single-digit growth in 2019, and it said it expected softer demand in Europe and Asia, particularly China.

Linamar operates a trucking and logistics business, though it does not break out its performance in its financial reports.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

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