Auto parts and equipment manufacturer Magna International Inc. posted higher net income year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017 as sales rose 12.3%, boosted by higher vehicle production volumes in Europe.
Net income was $556 million, or $1.53 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2017, up from $478 million, or $1.24 per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Magna said re-evaluation of its deferred tax balances due to the enactment of the new U.S. tax law had a positive impact of 6 cents per share on its fourth-quarter EPS.
Adjusted EPS for the quarter was $1.57, up from $1.31 in the prior-year period and slightly above S&P Capital IQ's consensus normalized EPS estimate of $1.56.
Sales rose 12.3% year over year to $10.39 billion from $9.25 billion as European complete vehicle assembly sales jumped 129% reflecting launches of the BMW 5-Series and Jaguar E-Pace during the year. Vehicle production volumes in Europe increased 6.9% year over year, and external production sales increased to $2.71 billion from $2.20 billion.
In North America, vehicle production volumes declined 5.0% from the year-ago quarter, and external production sales edged down to $4.87 billion from $4.88 billion. External production sales in Asia declined to $644 million from $663 million in the prior-year period.
Magna's board raised the quarterly dividend to 33 cents per common share, an increase of 20% from the previous quarter's payout of 27.50 cents. The first-quarter dividend is payable March 23 to shareholders of record on March 9. The company repurchased 6.7 million shares for $366 million during the quarter.
For full-year 2017, Magna's net income came in at $2.21 billion, or $5.90 per share, up from $2.03 billion, or $5.16 per share, in 2016. Adjusted EPS for 2017 was $5.96 per share, up from $5.23 in 2016 and slightly above S&P Capital IQ's estimate of $5.95.
Net income is projected to be in the range of $2.3 billion to $2.5 billion for 2018. Total sales are projected to be between $39.3 billion and $41.5 billion for the year.