BESSENBACH (dpa-AFX) - The commercial vehicle supplier SAF-Holland achieved significantly lower sales in the first quarter under its own steam. In organic terms, revenues fell by around eight percent to 441.3 million euros compared to the same period last year, as the SDax-listed company announced in Bessenbach on Wednesday. After years of strong growth, the commercial vehicle market in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and America has normalized. SAF-Holland confirmed its forecast, but the share price still fell.

In early trading, the share price fell by almost 17 percent at times, by late morning SAF-Holland was still down around 8.3 percent at 16.96 euros. However, the share had previously also recovered noticeably from the outbreak of the Ukraine war in February 2022 and is still up more than ten percent since the beginning of the year alone.

The recent acquisitions of Swedish brake specialist Haldex and the IMS Group contributed around 66 million euros to turnover in the first quarter. Including the two acquisitions, revenue rose by around five percent to 505.4 million euros. However, the free cash inflow deteriorated, mainly due to the IMS takeover, and debt also increased.

In the first quarter, the most important division, original equipment for truck trailers, performed particularly badly. Demand weakened and the segment's turnover fell by almost twelve percent. In contrast, the share of sales generated by the spare parts business, which is less affected by economic fluctuations, increased significantly. This resulted in improved profitability for SAF-Holland.

The margin before interest and taxes adjusted for special effects (adjusted EBIT margin) rose to 9.6 percent after 9.0 percent in the same quarter of the previous year. The operating result (adjusted EBIT) climbed 12 percent to 48.6 million euros. SAF-Holland earned a bottom line of EUR 26.5 million, a good third more than a year ago due to a lower tax rate.

"The figures for the first quarter of 2024 have shown very impressively how robust our business model is with our strong spare parts business and our pronounced ability to adjust costs even in a weaker market environment," said SAF-Holland CEO Alexander Geis according to the press release. He continues to target sales of around EUR 2 billion and a margin before interest and taxes adjusted for special effects of between 9 and 9.5 percent for the year as a whole. In the previous year, the company reported earnings of around 2.1 billion euros and an operating margin of 9.6 percent./niw/mne/zb