CNH REPORTS IMPROVED THIRD QUARTER RESULTS
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Lake Forest, Illinois (October 23, 2003) CNH Global N.V. (NYSE:CNH) today reported a third quarter net loss of $36 million, substantially better than the net loss of $66 million for the same period last year. Excluding restructuring charges in both periods, CNH's third quarter bottom line was a net loss of $15 million, compared to a third quarter 2002 loss of $58 million. Net sales of equipment were up 12% in the quarter, driven by strong sales of the company's agricultural equipment across all major markets.
For the first nine months of 2003, CNH reported a net loss of $46 million, or $.35 per share, compared to a net loss of $401 million for the same period last year. Excluding restructuring charges and the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle in 2002 related to goodwill impairment, CNH's profit of $1 million in the first nine months of 2003 compares favorably to a loss of $59 million for the same period in 2002. Net sales of equipment in the period were $7.386 billion, compared to $6.920 billion for the first nine months of 2002.
"Our new agricultural products are driving share gains in our key markets, directly benefiting the bottom line," Paolo Monferino, CNH president and chief executive officer said. "Although the third quarter is typically the weakest quarter of the year, we achieved an industrial operating margin of $72 million on a GAAP basis. Looking ahead, our construction equipment business has turned the corner and should be at breakeven in the fourth quarter. Overall, we confirm our forecast to be in the black, on a GAAP basis, before restructuring charges, in 2003."
Third quarter net sales of agricultural equipment
Net sales of agricultural equipment increased to $1.684 billion for the quarter, compared to $1.429 billion in the third quarter of 2002. Net of favorable currency, net sales of agricultural equipment increased by 10%, reflecting the company's strong sales in the Americas and Western Europe.
Third quarter 2003 industry unit sales of agricultural equipment in North America improved substantially compared to the third quarter of 2002. In North America, industry sales improved across all tractor segments with the greatest gains in the under 40 horsepower segment. North American combine sales also increased significantly. In Europe, industry sales of tractors were essentially flat, while industry sales of combines declined significantly. Industry sales of tractors were down slightly in Latin America while combine sales rose significantly.
Retail unit sales of CNH agricultural equipment increased in the quarter, particularly in North America where the company gained share in combines and over-40 horsepower tractors. In Europe, the company gained share in tractors. In Latin America, retail sales of the company's tractors followed the industry while combine sales significantly outperformed the industry. During the quarter, CNH under-produced agricultural equipment retail demand by 8% and continued its aggressive actions to reduce inventories.
Third quarter net sales of construction equipment
Net sales of construction equipment were $671 million, essentially unchanged from the third quarter of 2002. Net of currency, revenues declined by 6% in the quarter, as CNH under-produced construction equipment retail demand by 13%, mainly in light equipment in North America and heavy equipment in Europe.
Industry sales of heavy equipment increased worldwide, led by growth in Asia and North America. In Europe, industry sales of heavy equipment were down slightly, while in Latin America industry sales of heavy equipment were down significantly. Industry sales of light equipment were up significantly in North America and down significantly in Europe.
Retail unit sales of CNH construction equipment increased overall in North America, led by share gains in heavy equipment. Retail sales in Western Europe and Latin America declined somewhat more than the market.
Equipment Operations third quarter financial results
Third quarter net sales of equipment were $2.355 billion, compared to $2.099 billion for the same period in 2002. Net of favorable currency, sales increased by 5% compared to the same period last year.
CNH Equipment Operations' gross margin increased by $43 million for the quarter. In the company's agricultural business, the benefits of additional margins from new agricultural products, slightly better pricing, and higher volumes in the Americas more than offset additional costs associated with the launch of new products, especially in Europe. On the construction equipment side, slightly higher pricing in North America and manufacturing efficiencies more than offset unfavorable volume and mix.
In spite of an unfavorable currency impact, CNH achieved significant efficiencies in SG&A costs in the third quarter. These savings, together with the increase in gross margin, were the primary factors driving the company's third quarter industrial operating margin of $72 million, compared to a loss of $10 million in third quarter of 2002. CNH's industrial operating margin is defined as sales of equipment less costs of goods sold, SG&A, and R&D expenses.
In total, medical and pension costs for active employees and retirees increased year-over-year by approximately $24 million in the quarter.
Equipment Operations year-to-date financial results
For the first nine months of 2003 net sales of equipment were $7.386 billion, compared to $6.920 billion for the same period in 2002. Net of favorable currency, net sales were essentially unchanged for the period.
The company's adjusted EBITDA, as defined in the covenants of its 2011 senior notes, was $332 million for the first nine months of 2003, compared to $295 million for the same period last year. Interest coverage, as defined in the covenants of its 2011 senior notes, was 1.9 times for the first nine months of 2003, compared to 1.3 times for the same period last year.
Financial Services third quarter financial results
In the third quarter of 2003, CNH Capital reported net income of $24 million, compared to net income of $12 million in the same period last year. The improvement was due mainly to a significant improvement in the quality of the portfolio. During the quarter, CNH successfully completed its first wholesale public term ABS transaction.
The total managed portfolio at the end of the quarter increased by 6% compared to the December 31, 2002 level and by 7% compared to September 30, 2002. Past due and delinquency rates in CNH Capital's core business continued to decline on a year-over-year basis.
In August and September 2003, CNH issued a total of $1.050 billion of 9.25% senior unsecured notes through its wholly owned US subsidiary, Case New Holland Inc. In the third quarter, net proceeds were applied to pay down approximately $450 million of debt. The remaining proceeds will be applied mainly in the fourth quarter to meet the maturity of approximately $280 million of Case Corporation bonds and other Equipment Operations debt.
Equipment Operations debt, net of intersegment notes receivable and cash equivalents, was $1.903 billion on September 30, 2003, compared with $1.839 billion on June 30, 2003, and $3.524 billion on December 31, 2002. The quarter-over-quarter increase is mainly attributable to the previously announced $75 million contribution to the company's US pension plan, as cash generated by operating activities was used to fund routine capital expenditures. For the year-to-date, seasonally higher levels of working capital and fixed assets were more than compensated for by the issuance of $2 billion of preferred securities in April 2003.
Financial Services net debt was $3.929 billion on September 30, 2003, compared with $4.098 billion on June 30 and $3.565 billion on December 31, 2002. The quarter-over-quarter reduction reflects the successful wholesale public term ABS transaction in September, which strengthened the funding efficiency of CNH Capital in North America.
Pension fund and obligation
Through the first nine months of 2003, CNH's US pension fund has benefited from asset returns in excess of CNH's assumptions and on-going contributions to plan assets. However, a lower discount rate assumption may increase the expected value of the company's future obligations, requiring an increase in the minimum pension liability of about $150 million at year end, which would result in a non-cash charge to shareholders' equity of about $100 million, net of tax.
Agricultural equipment market outlook for the fourth quarter
CNH believes that industry sales of agricultural equipment in the fourth quarter of 2003 should be flat to up slightly in North America. In Western Europe industry sales of tractors are expected to decline, while combine sales in Latin America are expected to increase significantly through the balance of the year.
Construction equipment market outlook for the fourth quarter
For the fourth quarter, CNH anticipates that industry sales of heavy construction equipment will be up slightly in North America and down slightly in Western Europe and Latin America. Fourth quarter industry sales of light construction equipment are expected to be up in North America and down in Western Europe, in line with the overall trend of the year.
CNH outlook for 2003
Sales of CNH's agricultural equipment should remain strong although margins are expected to be flat, reflecting the launch costs being incurred in Europe as the company launches an extensive array of new products. The company's construction equipment business is expected to break even in the fourth quarter. CNH's profit improvement initiatives should continue to yield tangible results.
As previously announced, CNH may incur significant pre-tax restructuring charges in the fourth quarter, depending on the timing of the closure of the company's East Moline, Illinois facility.
For the full year, CNH continues to believe that it will record a year-over-year bottom line improvement of about $100 million, excluding restructuring charges, bringing CNH into the black for 2003.
CNH management will hold a conference call later today to review its third quarter results. The conference call webcast will begin at approximately 10:00 am U.S. Eastern Time. This call can be accessed through the investor information section of the company's web site at www.cnh.com and is being carried by CCBN.
CNH is the power behind leading agricultural and construction equipment brands of the Case and New Holland brand families. Supported by more than 12,000 dealers in more than 160 countries, CNH brings together the knowledge and heritage of its brands with the strength and resources of its worldwide commercial, industrial, product support and finance organizations. More information about CNH and its products can be found on line at www.cnh.com.
The information contained in this document is as of October 23, 2003. CNH assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement contained in this document.
Forward looking statements
This document contains forward-looking statements as contemplated by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are based on management's current expectations, estimates and projections. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "should," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates," variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ. Such risks and uncertainties include: general economic and capital market conditions, the cyclical nature of its business, foreign currency movements, hedging practices, CNH's and its customers' access to credit, political uncertainty and civil unrest in various areas of the world, pricing, product initiatives and other actions taken by competitors, disruptions in production capacity, excess inventory levels, the effect of changes in laws and regulations (including government subsidies and international trade regulations), technological difficulties, changes in environmental laws, employee and labor relations, weather conditions, energy prices, real estate values, animal diseases, crop pests, harvest yields, government farm programs and consumer confidence, housing starts and construction activity, concerns pertaining to genetically modified organisms, pension and health care costs, fuel and fertilizer costs.
For a list of major factors and other information that could significantly impact expected results, please refer to CNH's Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2002, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.