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Littelfuse Inc (NASDAQ:LFUS)
Q1 2020 Earnings Call
Apr 29, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day, everyone, and welcome to the Littelfuse Inc. First Quarter 2020 Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded.

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Head of Investor Relations, Trisha Tuntland. Please go ahead, ma'am.

Trisha Tuntland -- Head of Investor Relations

Good morning, and welcome to the Littelfuse First Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference Call. With me today are Dave Heinzmann, President and CEO; and Meenal Sethna, Executive Vice President and CFO. This morning, we reported results for our first quarter, and a copy of our earnings release is available in the Investor Relations section of our website. A webcast of today's conference call will also be available on our website. Our discussions today will include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements may involve significant risks and uncertainties. Please review today's press release and our forms 10-K and 10-Q for more detail about important risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations. We assume no obligation to update any of this forward-looking information.

Also, our remarks today refer to non-GAAP financial measures. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable GAAP measure is provided in our earnings release available in the Investor Relations section of our website. Before proceeding, I'd like to mention that we will be participating in several virtual conferences, including Oppenheimer's Industrial Growth Conference on May five and nondeal road shows. And we look forward to engaging with you during these outreach opportunities.

I will now turn the call over to Dave.

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Trisha. Good morning, and thanks for joining us today. First, my thoughts go out to everyone impacted directly by the COVID-19 pandemic and want to express my gratitude to the global medical professionals, first responders and other essential personnel for their sacrifice and leadership during these trying times. These are indeed challenging times, and Littelfuse and our global associates are doing our part to help flatten the curve. Recognizing the severity of the situation, our leadership team has acted with urgency to focus on three key priorities. Our first priority is our global associates: to protect the health and well-being of them, their families and the communities where we operate, while working to preserve jobs. From the earliest signs of the outbreak in China, we implemented a wide range of preventative measures and adhere to government recommendations and requirements in every country, including compliance with stay at home orders. The strong support of our global IT team enabled us to quickly expand our mobile infrastructure and flawlessly shift to a remote working environment for most support functions.

As a result, we did not lose a step. Our associates in China have guided us through this extraordinary experience, closely working together with our global teams, sharing their learnings and best-in-class practices. Employees who can work from home have been required to do so, and we suspended all travel. We canceled in-person meetings, postponed trade show participation and limited visitors to our sites. Virtually all of our manufacturing sites have been deemed essential due to the customers and markets we serve. In these locations where our associates are needed on site, we implemented strict social distancing, enhanced our cleaning and disinfection protocols and provided PPE, or personal protective equipment, for our associates. Around the world, we are providing PPE such as masks for all of our associates and their families. We've donated PPE in many of our global locations to local hospitals and supported extraordinary efforts by many of our customers to produce critical-needed medical equipment. These actions are consistent with our corporate initiatives to support our communities. I want to personally thank each one of our associates for their remarkable leadership during this time of tremendous uncertainty.

We will continue to take proactive measures to protect our people and keep our associates around the globe employed. Our second priority is to continue to support and serve the critical needs of our customers. At the onset of COVID-19 outbreak, we deployed our global business continuity task force. This team has been working extremely hard to mitigate the disruption to our customers and is focused on the recovery of operations, manufacturing and supply chains. I'm very proud of how our global teams have collectively come together to respond to this challenge. We're safe to operate. And with very strict controls in place, we are continuing to produce for our customers. The products we manufacture often play an essential role in the supply chains of our customers and vital industries they serve, from healthcare and medical devices like defibrillators and ventilators, to critical communications equipment, transportation and key infrastructure like energy. We take great pride in knowing that many of our products are required to keep the world safe and moving forward. Like many of our customers, suppliers and peers, we are seeing some logistics constraints and disruption across the global manufacturing footprint as regions work to contain the virus.

While this is a rapidly changing situation, all of our plants are operating with varying limitations, except for our locations in Mexico. The situation in Mexico is a very recent event, which is quickly evolving. We expect the disruptions in production we are experiencing to temporarily impact us during the second quarter. On a positive note, following the reopening of China in early February, our manufacturing plants there returned to normal levels during March. We're also mindful that while we understand the direct impacts of our plant, it is more difficult to forecast the indirect impacts like supply chain constraints, supplier ramp up and workforce availability. As a result, our ability to continue to manufacture may change at any time. As our sites in China return to normal operations, we are continuing to leverage our associates' leadership for our other global locations. It is the remarkable efforts, hard work and dedication of all of our associates around the world that has enabled us to execute contingency plans to limit supply chain disruptions, so we can continue to serve our customers.

Our third priority is the long-term financial health of the business. Over the past several years, we have made structural changes refining our portfolio of products and footprint around the world while adjusting our cost structure commensurate with demand levels. Along with these optimizations, we have taken decisive actions over the past several weeks to reduce nonessential spending. We have postponed hiring in most areas, delayed merit increases, suspended our annual incentive program, reduced capital expenditures and temporarily reduced compensation across our Board of Directors and executive leadership team. These reductions will be in place until we have solidly improved situation. All of these actions position us to weather the near-term challenges and prepare us to outperform the market post the pandemic. We have also maintained a conservative financial position over the years, which is even more important during these difficult times. Challenging conditions will not be behind us quickly.

And given the level of uncertainty, we are focused on preserving our financial flexibility. Meenal will provide an update on our strategies here in the context of COVID-19. We expect that pandemic will have a meaningful and lingering impact on the global economy. At present, shelter-in-place orders in some regions are limiting our ability to fulfill all customer demand. While we expect these limitations to subside in the coming weeks, we do expect demand softness to impact our business through most of 2020. That said, we will continue to prioritize our people, customers and financial health, the success of each is highly dependent on one another. I am confident that the mitigation actions taken and other potential levers position our company for profitable growth beyond the pandemic. Now I will provide an update on the first quarter performance of our company. Our financial performance was significantly impacted by COVID-19. We recorded first quarter sales of $346 million, which reflects disruptions related to the pandemic in China.

Our disciplined cost management actions helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic to deliver an adjusted operating margin of 14% and adjusted EPS of $1.29. COVID-19 impacts in China mainly affected our Electronics Products segment. During the quarter, we continued to see electronics inventory destocking with distribution, EMS and OEM partners and, as expected, saw weeks of inventory levels near the bottom of our normal 11- to 14-week range. Our electronics book-to-bill exiting the first quarter was well above 1, which may reflect some ordering in anticipation of COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. We are working with our strategic channel partners to closely monitor this very fluid situation. Our automotive products segment performed above market, led by our passenger car fuse business. However, given the pandemic-related automotive shutdowns, we believe there is a buildup of inventory at OEMs and Tier 1s. The magnitude of the shutdowns will require a significant amount of time to burn through excess inventories. On a positive note, China OEMs are slowly starting up again. And it's likely Europe and the U.S. will follow pending the reopening of different economies. As the financial impacts of the pandemic ripple their way through the global economy, demand patterns for vehicles will likely be affected.

We expect second quarter global car production to be down more than 40% year-over-year as consumer sales remain significantly below production levels. And we anticipate soft commercial vehicle markets for the remainder of the year. For the full year 2020, we expect global car production to be down more than 20% compared to the prior year. We do, however, continue to expect our long-term growth to outpace global car build with our ongoing content opportunities. Our Industrial Products segment saw healthy demand pre-COVID-19, led by renewables and power conversion. Looking ahead, we anticipate softer conditions as macro uncertainties around the oil and gas industry and the pandemic weighs on mining and U.S. nonresidential construction. Based on current orders, we are seeing a pullback in demand during the second quarter. With the exception of oil and gas, we expect the slow recovery in other industrial markets during the second half of this year. Longer term, we are confident this business will continue to drive profitable growth. During the quarter, we made significant progress on our strategic footprint initiatives.

We continued integration activities across our semiconductor business completing the construction of our new facility in the Philippines, which expands our capabilities in module and discrete assembly and test operations. New equipment has been installed, and we have begun product and customer qualifications. In addition, we are on schedule with our epitaxial facility consolidation and capacity expansion and expect to complete the transfer of products in the third quarter. We are also embarking on a manufacturing site consolidation within our industrial business. These strategic infrastructure actions build on our foundation of operational excellence and position us to continue the execution of our company's long-term growth strategy. Despite near-term challenges we are working through, we are balancing our time to remain focused on winning new business opportunities. The long-term secular themes of a safe, greener, more connected world persist well into the future. These focus areas are driving next-generation electrical architecture and power conversion and increase the complexity in applications and the content opportunity for our Protect Control and Sense products.

As a market leader, we have positioned our company for growth within these themes based on our differentiated broad range of highly reliable products and application knowledge. It is the strength of our product offerings and the technical capabilities of our engineers that have earned our company a seat at the OEM design-in desk. This is substantiated by our recognition as a gold award winner of the 2020 Edison Awards. Our innovators were acknowledged for developing digital temperature sensors that deliver improved reliability and safety for fast-charging USB connections for electronic applications. It is our product and application expertise and deep relationships that set us apart from our competitors. During the first quarter, we were able to close strategic design wins across a wide range of applications in all regions. As we all adapt to working remotely, we are finding that a virtual environment is conducive to ongoing design in work as OEM engineers are shifting the balance of their focus from operations to design activity. Across industrial applications, there is a healthy level of design activity and strong engagement. As a result of new product designs and superior local technical support, we captured new business in renewable energy storage in Japan and won designs in motor drive applications for HVAC.

Additionally, our engineering support and customer relationships enabled us to secure new business from mining application and power supplies and welding equipment. For electronics applications, development programs and research work is ongoing, and there is a high level of collaboration with customers. Responsive engineering and application support and customer relationships enabled us to secure a new business in 5G base stations, intercom systems, consumer appliances and medical devices like ventilators, unmatched product differentiation led the business wins and power supplies for servers and portable electronic devices. Within the transportation applications, we continue to leverage our engineering relationships and see positive customer interaction. We are focused on long-term opportunities and program wins. With our differentiated products, we continue to win new designs in global electric vehicle platforms. Based on our engineering support, our products were selected for several light truck platforms with a major global OEM. In sensors, we captured new solar business with two big OEMs in Europe and Korea, and business wins for seat positioning and comfort.

We continue to win new business in commercial vehicles with the strength of our product development and engineering efforts. As a result of our ability to make customized products aligned with customer specifications, we won business for Class eight heavy-duty trucks in North America. In Europe, with our focus on growth beyond North America, our product reliability and customer support secured us power distribution business for electric forklift trucks, expanding our presence within a strategic customer. Across our businesses, we see this elevated level of design and activity continuing, which is supported by our robust pipeline of new products. As we continue to navigate the challenging macro environment, our global teams remain focused on driving long-term growth, profitability and cash generation. We have actively managed costs to align to business conditions while advancing several strategic initiatives across the industrial, electronics and transportation end markets we serve, demonstrating our ability to balance short-term cost containment with the execution of our long-term strategic initiatives.

I will now turn the call over to Meenal to provide additional color on our financials, capital allocation and outlook.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Great. Thanks, Dave, and good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us today. I hope everyone and those close to you are staying safe and healthy. So let me start with some summary comments. The fundamentals of our business remains strong, and our long-term view on strategy and growth opportunities hasn't changed. Over the years, we've maintained a conservative financial posture, positioning us well to navigate through these uncertain times. With this foundation, we expect to come out stronger when we start to see markets improve. This morning, I'll cover some highlights from our first quarter, followed by our capital allocation views and liquidity, and I'll close with current thoughts on our outlook and key near-term drivers. We finished the first quarter with sales of $346 million, down 15% on a reported basis over last year and down 13% organically. Production disruptions from government directives affected our factories in China. These disruptions affected sales across our electronics segment and parts of our automotive segment.

As we projected in January, weeks of inventory in the channel were down to normal ranges based on current demand levels. First quarter GAAP diluted EPS was $1 while adjusted diluted EPS was $1.29. We had unfavorable leverage from lower sales versus last year, along with COVID-19-related expenses, ranging from additional production costs, supplies, and higher freight costs. Partially offsetting this was our cost reduction efforts, favorable foreign exchange and lower commodity prices, which collectively contributed $0.55 in EPS benefit. Our GAAP effective tax rate was 30.6% and adjusted tax rate was 26.5%. We are projecting a full year tax rate in the upper 20% range due to expected lower earnings across our low-tax jurisdictions. Across our segments, electronics and automotive were affected by lower volumes impacting leverage. Operating margins across all of our segments benefited from favorable foreign exchange as well as the cost reduction actions we took in the quarter.

Notably, our automotive margins improved 190 basis points versus last year, also benefiting from the cost actions we've been taking over the past year. Now let me spend some extra time covering liquidity and capital allocation as I expect they're likely top of mind. We ended the first quarter with $621 million in cash. This includes $100 million that we drew down from our revolver late in the first quarter. While we have no immediate use for these funds, we took a cautious view to ensure liquidity during this uncertain macro environment. During the quarter, we generated $45 million in operating cash flow and $29 million in free cash flow, a conversion rate of 116%. Our working capital metrics were consistent with the past several quarters with a cash conversion of 104 days. During April, we also entered into an amended five-year $700 million credit facility. We started that process late last year as part of our normal activities to optimize our capital structure. Our amended revolver continues to provide us with additional liquidity and flexibility while improving our debt covenant ratios and lowering overall fees. We have about $240 million drawn down at the end of the first quarter on the revolver.

The maturities of our remaining debt are spread over the next several years, with our next maturity of $25 million in 2022. With this debt structure in place, we finished the quarter well below 1.0 times our net debt-to-EBITDA leverage. Our gross leverage is 2.6 times, well under our covenant ceiling. Our current capital priorities are funding organic growth for our business, continuing to build on design activity to support new growth opportunities and capital expenditures we need to support these programs. We're continuing to invest capital in new products to support our long-term growth strategy as well as cost reduction initiatives, but we're deferring other capacity expansion programs due to near-term volume expectations. We've reduced capital investment to $60 million for the year, a 30% reduction versus our January view. Acquisitions remain our top priority for long-term growth and value creation for our shareholders, but will likely be tabled in the short-term given the market dynamics.

We've seen deal activity slow down dramatically, given uncertainties around valuation and market clarity and even the basics of deal logistics. We've seen deals in progress get deferred by sellers, and we stepped away from a transaction we were expecting to close this quarter. We are keeping a close eye on a number of targets in our funnel and may see some prospects emerge down the line amid the current financial dynamics. Moving on to share buybacks, we replaced our expiring authorization with a one year one million share authorization. This is consistent with what we've had in place for the past several years. During the first quarter, we repurchased $23 million of our shares but suspended our buyback activity late in the first quarter. We don't expect to repurchase our shares in the near term, while the impact and duration from COVID-19 remains unclear. As noted in our press release, our Board approved our second quarter dividend, and our dividend rate is unchanged. But if the macroeconomic disruption intensifies, our Board of Directors would consider a change in the dividend.

Overall, we feel our balance sheet is well positioned with reasonable leverage. We've implemented a capital structure to ensure liquidity while executing our capital allocation objectives. But we're not complacent. We're keeping a close watch on market conditions and how they could evolve our capital priorities. So let's move on to our outlook. Given the lack of market and operational clarity at this time, we are withdrawing our full year guidance we provided in January, and we're unable to provide specific second quarter guidance. However, our goal is to provide you with as much insight and transparency as possible into our business. So let me share with you today what we're seeing across our internal operations and end markets. We estimate our second quarter sales down we estimate our second quarter sales to be down more than 20% versus the first quarter. Our main gating factors are automotive market demand and government directives in certain countries, affecting our supply chain. We expect automotive sales to be down substantially in the second quarter, with car builds estimated to be down more than 40% last year, led by the U.S. and Europe.

We also believe our Tier one customers are carrying excess inventory due to their shutdowns and, in many cases, experiencing some of the same production challenges that we are. On our production side, we are running at partial levels in our factories in the Philippines and in Italy and expect to return to normal production levels during the month of May. Our factories in Mexico are currently shut down, and we expect this to continue through at least mid-May. These directives began at varying times in late March and in April and evolve often based on local health and safety views. We continue to work with government authorities closely as we produce many critical components used in essential products. However, as health and safety conditions evolve across these countries, the government instructions do as well. Given these production limitations, current demand exceeds our ability to supply excluding in the automotive end markets. We continue to see reasonable demand levels and are closely monitoring end customer demand and production levels closely. Looking beyond the top line, we're expecting our operating income decremental margins to be about 45%, given the steep volume decline and our costs running higher than typical or our current levels of production.

Though we're not running many of our operations at full capacity, we're committed to maintaining jobs for our associates. We're also incurring additional COVID-19-related expenses at all of our locations. And we're running at lower levels of productivity due to partial operations and safety measures that we've implemented around the world. To offset some of these costs and productivity hits, we've taken aggressive steps to reduce full year operating expenses by $30 million versus last year. These actions targeted reductions in compensation and discretionary spend. This is in addition to the $50 million of spend we took out in 2019, totaling a 25% reduction in our operating expenses versus 2018. As market conditions evolve, we will evaluate other actions as needed. We expect interest expense of $22 million to $23 million for the year, amortization expense of $40 million. And as I mentioned earlier, a tax rate in the upper 20% range. We continue to drive strong cash flow performance and expect to remain free cash flow positive with the ongoing actions we're taking for the year. We believe our production disruptions will subside after this quarter, and our goal would be to provide financial guidance again, starting with the third quarter. We can't control the virus nor can we control the economy, but we can control our business.

We are working diligently to balance the needs and expectations of all of our stakeholders: Our employees, our customers, suppliers and our shareholders. And while we've had to take a number of difficult actions to reduce costs around the globe, I'm confident these will position us with positive momentum as we start to see a recovery. I'd also like to add a thanks to our associates for the extraordinary efforts and dedication they demonstrate every day during this unprecedented time. I'm inspired by our teams around the world. And I'm proud to be a part of the Littelfuse family.

And with that, I'll turn it back to Dave for some last comments.

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Meenal. In summary, we will get through this period with the perseverance, hard work and dedication of our talented associates around the world, with the ongoing support of our customers and suppliers. Similar to historical challenges, I'm confident that our learnings during this crisis will be beneficial to our business going forward. As we work through these challenging times, Littelfuse remains a strong, resilient company. While there remains a high level of uncertainty and it's difficult for us to project demand at this time, we are confident that by working together, we will continue to deliver on our priorities for all stakeholders.

With that, we'll open up the call for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And your first question is from the line of Karl Ackerman of Cowen.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Good Morning.Karl

Karl Ackerman -- Cowen -- Analyst

Good morning Neil and Dave thanks for taking my questions two, if I may. Just, I guess, first on inventory. Last quarter, you indicated that the electronics business should see an end to the inventory correction that's plagued the industry for nearly four quarters. Obviously, COVID-19 has impacted supply chain and demand. But are your own inventory levels within distribution in line with sell-through at this point? Or should we expect some further inventory rationalization of the Electronics Products in the channel lasting in the second half of the year? And I have a follow-up, please.

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Okay. Yes, Karl. So we have talked a lot about channel inventories in the electronics markets for the last several quarters. And as we talked about last quarter, we expected further decline in weeks of inventory in the supply chain during the first quarter. We saw that. And as I talked about in the prepared remarks, we see a normal range for us is 11 to 14. And we're at the very kind of the low end of that 11 to 14 range at this stage. So there's actually further inventory that was taken out during the first quarter. We've kind of reached the bottom side of that. So we don't believe at this time in the electronics portion of our business that there's any kind of inventory overhang in the market.

However, order patterns coming in to our distribution partners, those are a little more challenging to get your arms around. Book-to-bills for our distribution partners are above 1. They're clearly above one for us. Some of those coming from essential business requirements, but also some of those, we believe, our efforts to buy forward in case there are further disruptions in COVID-19.

Karl Ackerman -- Cowen -- Analyst

Got it. That's helpful. Dave, you've obviously had the opportunity of being seeing this downturn and the downturn in '08, and I think Littelfuse has done the company as a whole has performed much better this downturn than the last downturn, particularly with trough margins being higher than they were, given some of the production limitations in Mexico and Italy. As we think about Opex for the second half of the year, given the $30 million of comp and discretionary spend being planned to be curtailed for the year, should we expect Opex to decline second half versus first half?

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So right now, Karl, we talked about the $30 million reduction for the full year, which is going to benefit all quarters right now. And that's where we're at based on our current views on demand and what we're seeing. Having said that, we continue to keep a close eye, and we're watching to see what happens in the second quarter and what that means for the rest of the year. And if we start to see the disruption continue longer than expected or it deepens, we'll absolutely look at further cost actions. Thanks Karl.

Operator

Your next question is from the line of Nick Todorov of Longbow Research.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Gausia Chowdhury -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

Hi, Good morning. This is Gausia Chowdhury on for Nick. Is there any way to estimate the dollar amount of the excess inventory at the auto OEMs, how much they build up in the first quarter and how much it would impact the second quarter? And then I think you had said it would take a significant amount of time to burn off that inventory. Is there any estimate on how long you'd expect that to take?

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Yes. It's a great question, and it's a difficult one to kind of get an exact answer on because, as you know, we have a very global footprint in the customer bases that we serve, the Tier 1s we serve, the OEMs that we serve. So trying to get an exact picture of where that is, is quite challenging. However, what we do track is really our content increases that we see. And when you see that our revenues were down only about 6% but global car build was down well over 20%, we know that there is a mismatch there. And we know from several conversations that, yes, there is inventory there. I think we would probably estimate that there's maybe two, three weeks of extra inventory in the channels right now in automotive. And really depending on their ramp-up speeds, how quickly they take it out, much of that could come out in the second quarter, but some may come out in the third quarter. So it's a little challenging to kind of see exactly where it is. But I think our belief is it's in that two to three weeks range.

Gausia Chowdhury -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

Okay. Great. And then if I could also ask about auto, do you agree with the second quarter likely being the trough and then normalizing in the back half of the year? And then if you could provide any color by region, especially with China returning, how that's been looking within auto?

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Yes, we're reading all the same materials and talking to all the same people that you are with regards to car builds and trying to project that. It's pretty difficult to get exacting sort of view on that. But certainly, we expect Q2 to be a pretty challenging quarter with regard to car build. Yes, China is beginning to kind of continue to ramp back up. The question mark is really what's the demand pattern from the end customers in China. So we do see that ramp continuing to ramp back up during the second quarter and into the back half of the year. Europe and North America, obviously, with the shutdowns, it's kind of very steep drop off. We're seeing actions already, as you read about, too, as they're trying to open back up slowly some of the operations in the West. So we do expect that the second quarter is likely the trough.

Third quarter, fourth quarter, I think the challenge on that, we expect it to be a bit of a slow crawl back that will take more than just this year. It will take through the following year as well. Really, the wildcard is just how bad the global economic situation is and how that impacts buying patterns. That's a little difficult to project. But from a scenario planning perspective, we're certainly expecting car build to be down meaningfully for the year, maybe in the range of 70 million vehicles is probably what we're scenario planning around with improvements in 2021, but it's going to be two, three-plus years to get back to where we were two years ago. So that's kind of I think our current view.

Operator

Your next question is from the line of Christopher Glynn with Oppenheimer.

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Good morning Chris.

Christopher Glynn -- Oppenheimer -- Analyst

Good morning. So it sounds like you're doing a lot of good work and good luck through this. Dave, you had an interesting word describing your design-in activities going on? I think you used the term elevated design-in activity going on. Wondering if you could dive into the use of that term elevated. Are smaller competitors kind of falling out of the game a little bit? Or is it just kind of the way innovation and design cycles pulse across your customer base?

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Yes. It's certainly an area where, Chris, where we're spending a lot of time in discussions because a bit of our concern would is or had been would design-in activity start to fall off as design engineers are maybe working from home, both our own application engineers as well as customer design engineers and things like that, they're working from home, would activity fall off and create a challenge for us. So we spent a lot of time and energy around that. We've worked very hard to make sure that our teams are very much engaged, using a lot of tools, doing lots of training, lots of application work for our customers. So we probably elevated our activity level to try to make sure that we're engaged at the right level. And we're seeing a very receptive experience from customers really across our segments. Our goal is absolutely to outperform on the backside of this pandemic situation.

And that doesn't happen without doing a lot of design-in activity. When I think you're in kind of a challenging time, our customers yes, they probably are more likely to look to their core experience supply base they've worked with over the years as opposed to someone else that have less experience with. So we think that probably worked to our advantage. But we've been pleasantly surprised with the level of design activity, kind of really across the board. And I think it bodes well for our ability to outperform on the back side of the situation.

Christopher Glynn -- Oppenheimer -- Analyst

And then I had a question about Mexico. Starting to hear a little more of that. Curious if you could just give your view, Dave, of some of the unique characteristics of how distancing measures are playing out there versus here, both in terms of stipulated mandates and just the decisions that individuals are culturally coalescing around.

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Sure. And so first of all, we got exposure to the situation early in the first quarter in China. We learned a great deal from the actions in China and our ability to keep employees safe and trying to return to work in these difficult challenging environments. We implemented those learnings kind of across the globe early on. So we took actions, whether it's in Mexico or Europe or the U.S. or whatever or Philippines well before outbreaks were kind of happening in those areas. Knock on wood, we're quite fortunate in the fact that to date, we have no employees who have reported getting the virus itself. So we're fortunate on that. We think the actions we've taken and maintained has helped contribute to that. The situation in Mexico, we had proactively, in the last several weeks, had reduced our production output in Mexico, really to make sure we could implement some of the distancing requirements and things like that within our factories, within the shop floor as well as bathrooms, dining facilities, those sorts of things, literally where you have one person per table, for instance, in a dining area, those types of things.

So we've implemented a lot of those things. But in order to accomplish that in Mexico, we had already scaled back our production in order to safely operate. And we passed several local governments do audits of your facilities, and we passed several of those audits, and they had very positive feedback and comments for the actions we were taking. We've seen just in the last week, the Mexico regional governments take a much more assertive position on what they deemed essential. And so therefore, they really have been focused mainly on medical equipment and food processing. And so therefore, they've implemented more strategic controls in place. So we've heeded those controls, and so we have shut down our Mexico operations.

But what we've seen in other parts of the world when we've gone through those things, that evolves and changes very rapidly day-to-day. Our ability to have people maybe come in and the skeletal crew to take care of emergency shipments. And then it will scale from there and so we expect that to be happening in Mexico. Our teams in Mexico because we've been very proactive in how we manage and keep them safe have been very supportive of our access to try to operate when we can. So very fluid situation. We expect to kind of work our way through it in the coming weeks

Operator

Our next question is from the line of Shawn Harrison with Loop Capital.

Shawn Harrison -- Loop Capital -- Analyst

Morning everybody. I wanted to just try to finer point on thinking about the auto business for the second quarter. If we use the IHS production number and employ your content to it, and then the expectation would be you would see some destocking in terms of that overbuild in the first quarter. And so you would underperform production in terms of the decline year-over-year. Is that the best way to think about kind of how it potentially troughs out here in the June quarter?

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I think it's certainly possible. And by the way, it's just a very, very fluid situation with our customers. And everyone is in a different position. Some of them, like ourselves, are operating in Mexico and they are shut down, where they can't operate at all. But I think our belief is that during the second quarter, yes, it's certainly possible that our revenues and our growth could underperform car build because of those inventory access that was kind of put in place during the first quarter. To what extent, we don't know. We're still highly confident in the fact that we're gaining with our applications and our products, we're gaining content. So we're continuing to see that. But there certainly could be a quarter or two where things mismatch again.

Shawn Harrison -- Loop Capital -- Analyst

And Dave, if you could remind me, kind of what have you been averaging in terms of content outgrowth relative to auto production over the past few years?

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Again, very fluid changes and it depends on the region, the OEMs and things like that. But in general, we expect that our content growth is in the kind of 4% range from a content increase beyond car build.

Shawn Harrison -- Loop Capital -- Analyst

Okay. That's helpful. And then, Meenal, maybe I missed it, I'm sorry, I got on the call a little bit late. But is there a way to quantify how much kind of the shutdown here in Mexico is costing you in the June quarter in terms of the dollar amount? I know you highlighted kind of the decremental margin of 45% being greater than normal for the company. But just to quantify, kind of maybe a dollar impact of what Mexico being offline means to the P&L this quarter?

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Yes. We haven't Shawn, we haven't quantified by plant because we have so many different plants at different states. And frankly, Dave mentioned this earlier, the situation changes on a daily basis right now. So while, in some cases, we were still operating for an extra day or two to get product out the door with skeleton screws, and that could start happening again in the next few days. So any number I give you is going to be wrong at this point. So this is a situation, not just in Mexico, but with any of our plants that are in this partial production state right now.

Shawn Harrison -- Loop Capital -- Analyst

Maybe another way to ask it is, what would you expect kind of the normalized decremental or incremental to be without shutdowns across Littelfuse for any given time period?

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

I'd say right now, it's also a little tough because in addition to the plant shutdowns, we're incurring a lot of other COVID-19 costs that we're attempting to estimate. Those also change. Some of the things that I started talking about were freight costs, I mean, separate from our production, but from a freight perspective because of the near shutdown on international flights and a lot of our product slides through the bellies of passenger flights. So freight costs are through the roof right now, and they continue to go up as every week goes by. And even with our plants that are operating right now, Dave talked a lot about we put a lot of these safety and protective measures in place. So those come at a cost for us on two fronts.

One is it's just the cost of the supplies in terms of face masks and other protective equipment that's out there as well as just productivity, right? We're not running, in a lot of cases, full shift or we're not running maybe the full gamut of the number of people that are typically there. So it's hard to individually quantify in a location or a factory in a business the totality of the cost that we're incurring right now, and it continues to change.

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

And certainly, the 45% decremental situation is worse than it typically would be in a normal environment.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Absolutely.

Shawn Harrison -- Loop Capital -- Analyst

Thank you.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Thanks John.

Operator

Next question is from the line of Steven Fox with Fox Advisors.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Steven Fox -- Fox Advisors -- Analyst

Good morning. Just to follow up on that. When you think about some of the shutdowns and manufacturing issues you've had, how does it compare competitively? Do you find that everyone is in the same boat? Or do you see where maybe in certain regions, you're now disadvantaged in serving a customer or advantaged. And just on top of that, as you think about potential ramp-ups in North America and Europe from your customers, like is there a significant risk that you may have a mismatch with their needs out of the box this quarter? Or do you think you can cover that?

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Sure. From a competitive standpoint, it's very, very fluid, right? Because when we're experiencing these shutdowns or these periods when maybe we can't fulfill all the demand that's on a particular plant, those situations are typically situations that last for maybe three or four weeks. They're not situations that are extending over months at a time. So in the case of like in China, where we had to shut down and had an extra couple of weeks' worth of shutdown, we ramped back up, and we actually outperformed most of our competitors, including competitors in China because our ability to react and respond was better. So I think we actually probably gained some position during that sort of a situation. Yes, there are certain product lines that maybe we're making in the Philippines that are at less than 100% production that a competitor might be making in China, but it's a reverse to where we were a month ago.

And that's quickly kind of ramping back up. So we don't think there's really a sustained competitive concern for us because of the periods of times that we're dealing with on that. We did talk in regards to the second part of your question on risk to support ramp up, clearly, as we stated in the prepared remarks, if you set aside passenger car world where demands are quite low during the second quarter, the rest of our business, the industrial side, the electronics side. During the second quarter, our revenues will be dictated by our ability to produce. So demand will be and our orders will be at a higher rate than our ability to produce during the second quarter. We do expect during the course of the quarter that, that works its way out. So we do expect that as we kind of end the quarter that our ability to produce will probably be above demand patterns. So we do see kind of short-term challenges on that. And that's reflected in kind of this high-level outlook and modeling that we've done to expect things to be down in the 20% sequentially, that kind of range. That's reflected in those numbers.

Steven Fox -- Fox Advisors -- Analyst

That's very helpful. Thank you very much

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Thank you Stephen.

Operator

The next question is from the line of Matt Sheerin with Stifel.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning. Just following up on that in terms of the cost cutting efforts, and I know you're taking a big cut to Opex. But looking at the overall infrastructure of the company, particularly if, as Dave says, it takes two to three years for auto to get back to the kind of unit numbers that you saw a year or two ago, are you looking at any consolidation of your footprint? And I also know that you're still in the middle or toward the end of the integration of IXYS. So anything going on in terms of portfolio in the overall infrastructure that you're looking at?

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Sure, Matt. A couple of things to think about, right? We talk pretty openly with our workforce and with those of you on the call about the fact that we have, in the near term, our priority to keep our people employed during shutdowns and things like that. We think it's the right thing to do. So we're doing those things. However, we've also been straightforward with our employees as well that if ongoing levels of demand are reduced in the longer-term after kind of we get through these lockdown periods and shutdown periods, yes, we may have to take actions to resize our organization and our staff to a lower level if revenues are sustained at a lower level. So it doesn't mean we won't take actions. We may need to do that if that's the case. From a footprint standpoint, we've talked about the fact, in fact, coming into this year, our last earnings call, we talked about the fact that we expected actually, our bottom line performance for this year was going to be a little less than we had hoped for because we had footprint work we were going to be working on.

We've talked a little bit about that, certainly with the IXYS integration and the footprint work on our semiconductor business, that continues to be ongoing. Yes, there is footprint work that we're doing in the industrial side of the business. There's also footprint work that's certainly contemplated and planning for in the auto side of our business, too. So we're always looking at those things. We have activities around those. So expect us to be talking about those sorts of things on an ongoing basis.

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel -- Analyst

Okay. Great. And I imagine that kind of heavy lifting is very difficult to do in this environment, given the production shutdowns and the local mandate. So that's something, I guess, we should expect over the next few quarters then?

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Yes, I think so. And it's good and bad, right? If you're in a period where demand patterns are lower, it's a great time to be moving things around, but it's pretty hard to train people. And you're moving people in and around and things like that. So there are a lot of projects where, if possible, we try to accelerate during these times and other projects where we try to keep them moving, but they may have to be delayed a little bit, just out of the practicality of, you got people from one country that can't be coming to the other country and those sorts of things. But yes, expect to see footprint work from us. We'll be talking about that for the next several quarters, for sure likely, this is our M&A strategy, we'll be talking about that for the next several years.

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel -- Analyst

Great. And just lastly, regarding the Mexico footprint, Meenal, could you tell us what percentage of revenue that represents both for the auto and the electronics segment?

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So our Mexico plants are they service our automotive segment, parts of our industrial segment and also our electronics segment. So they cover all the segments. But I'd say the heaviest is really around the auto. From a company perspective, it's about it services about 25% of our products or sales. Overall. Okay.

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel -- Analyst

Got it. Okay. Thank you.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Thank you Matt.

Operator

The next question is from the line of David Leiker with Baird.

David Leiker -- Baird -- Analyst

This is Erin Welcenbach on for David. My question is around just thinking about the cadence of the Opex declines. And I guess, specifically, how you're thinking about reductions to engineering expense versus kind of the balance of SG&A. Obviously, engineering expense was down pretty significantly sequentially. So just the way to think about balancing that with kind of the elevated level of new business activity you mentioned, Dave.

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Let me first talk a little bit about the R&D side and engineering expense side and then let Meenal kind of respond to the rest of it. From an R&D perspective, we're absolutely not reducing our R&D activities. So we continue to be very focused on the long-term introduction and content opportunities that we have. So our activities are quite strong there. There have been some actions we have taken so things as simple as suspension of our bonus program, that has an impact to draw down our engineering costs and things like that. There are a couple of specific actions we took in the semiconductor side as we've changed our product portfolio, particularly on the power semiconductor side that allowed us to take some cost out and redeploy some things there. But for sure, it's not an area we're looking to reduce cost over time. We continue to look to make investments there. And in fact, over time, probably expect us to see small increases in the percent of spend in the R&D side. So Meenal, maybe you can talk about the rest.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Yes. And I'd say just on the SG&A piece, right now, we're projecting heavier reductions in the first half of the year. A lot of it from my comments, a lot of it is related to compensation reductions we've made, temporary compensations. A lot of cases, Dave talked about the bonus program as well as discretionary spend. So if people aren't traveling, you're not spending a lot of money, you're not going to trade shows, things like that, that's where a lot of the cuts come from. And that's where we're going to continue to see, right? Depends on how things start to pick up in the back half of the year. Is it a little slower? Is it going to pick up a little bit more faster than we think, in the third quarter, but it's possible we continue to see more reductions in that kind of spend and the continuation of that in the back half.

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Great thanks for taking my question.

Operator

Thank you Our next question is from the line of David Kelley with Jefferies.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Good morning

David Kelley -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Good morning. Just a quick follow-up on the footprint action discussion. I believe you were previously targeting transition costs of $0.30 to $0.35 this year. Has that changed given the macro disruption?

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

It might be down a little bit just because with the macro disruptions. Dave mentioned, we absolutely 100% are moving forward with all of them, but they may get delayed because of some of the local disruptions at some of the plants, etc. But I would say that $0.30 to $0.35 is still a good estimate right now.

David Kelley -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay. Great. And then just following up on the excess auto inventory discussion. Just curious to hear if that's something you're seeing globally. We've heard from others that the build was skewed more toward China. But it sounds like from your comments, maybe it's more broad than that. And then as we think about your auto exposure, you have some auto sales embedded into your electronics segment. Just curious if you're seeing the impact back there as well.

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Yes. What I would say is that in our traditional automotive, kind of the electrical infrastructure of the vehicle and sensors and things, we are seeing that inventory build kind of globally, but I would say it's heavier probably in China than it is in other parts of the world. So I do think it's probably skewed toward Asia. We see a little less of it in the electronics, automotive electronics components. And the reason being is many of our Tier 1s choose to fulfill through distribution channels in the automotive electronics. And in that case, they're kind of flowing through and they have coverage through the disties. And so we haven't seen it impact that quite as directly there. It's more on the electrical infrastructure side where we've seen that happen.

David Kelley -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay. Great. And then last one from me before I pass along. Kind of on that discussion, the strong electronics book-to-bill, just trying to get a sense of potential pre-buy. Could you talk about order flow in the last couple of weeks of March? Did you see any pullback? Or have you seen any substantial changes even Q2 to-date?

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Yes. We've seen perhaps order rates slow a bit in the back end of the first quarter and into the second quarter. But still, we have book-to-bills that are well above one. We have conversations. I have conversations with senior folks at our distribution partners pretty regularly. And they're continuing to see relatively strong order patterns. They do see at times where maybe somebody places orders and then they push a bit out after they have them in for a while. So is it changing a little bit? Maybe, but still pretty robust bookings out there.

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Appreciate your questions, David. Thank you for joining us on today's call and your interest in Littelfuse. We look forward to talking with you again soon. Be safe and stay healthy.

Duration: 60 minutes

Call participants:

Trisha Tuntland -- Head of Investor Relations

David Heinzmann -- President And Chief Executive Officer

Meenal A. Sethna -- Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer

Karl Ackerman -- Cowen -- Analyst

Gausia Chowdhury -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

Christopher Glynn -- Oppenheimer -- Analyst

Shawn Harrison -- Loop Capital -- Analyst

Steven Fox -- Fox Advisors -- Analyst

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel -- Analyst

David Leiker -- Baird -- Analyst

David Kelley -- Jefferies -- Analyst

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