Solar fuses used by the photovoltaic industry.

Image source: Littelfuse.

Circuit-protection product manufacturer Littelfuse (NASDAQ:LFUS) reported its fourth-quarter results before the market opened on Feb. 1. Revenue and profits soared due to both acquisitions and solid organic growth, and despite continued trouble in the industrial segment. Here's what investors need to know about Littelfuse's fourth-quarter results.

Littelfuse results: The raw numbers


Q4 2016

Q4 2015

Change (YOY)


$284.5 million

$220.0 million


Net income

$27.2 million

$20.9 million






Adjusted EPS




Data source: Littelfuse. YOY = year over year.

What happened with Littelfuse this quarter?

Organic revenue growth accelerated during the fourth quarter, although the bulk of Littelfuse's growth was due to acquisitions.

  • Excluding revenue from acquisitions, divestitures, and the extra week during the fourth quarter of 2015, revenue grew by 6% year over year. This compares to adjusted revenue growth of just 2% during the third quarter.
  • Electronics revenue rose 60% year over year to $156.5 million. On an adjusted basis, revenue grew by 19%.
  • Automotive revenue rose 19% year over year to $105.6 million. On an adjusted basis, revenue grew by 2%.
  • Industrial revenue dropped 33% year over year to $22.5 million. The company pointed to continued end market weakness across its industrial segment as the reason behind the decline. On an adjusted basis, revenue slumped by 26%.
  • Electronics segment operating income soared 112% to $34.8 million. The automotive segment produced $10.9 million of operating income, down 22% year over year. The industrial segment posted a slight operating loss, down from a $5.4 million operating profit during the prior-year period.

Littelfuse provided guidance for the first quarter along with some full-year targets.

  • For the first quarter: Revenue is expected between $278 million and $288 million, and adjusted EPS is expected between $1.56 and $1.70.
  • For the full year: Revenue and earnings are expected to grow by a double-digit percentage.

What management had to say

Littelfuse CEO David Heinzmann pointed to strength in most of the company's segments:

We're pleased with our strong fourth quarter finish, with both sales and earnings exceeding the midpoint of our guidance. Our results were led by strength across our electronics segment, along with solid performance in both our automotive fuse and sensor businesses. We continued to see end market weaknesses across our industrial segment and our commercial vehicle business in our automotive segment, impacting our overall growth for the quarter. Despite these challenges, we finished the quarter with strong earnings and cash flow growth.

Executive Chairman Gordon Hunter discussed the company's accomplishments and its future:

2016 was a milestone year for us, as we crossed $1 billion in revenue, with record earnings and cash flow. We also made substantial progress in growth from strategic acquisitions, adding approximately $250 million in annualized revenue from our three acquisitions. We are well positioned for success with our updated strategy, which focuses on accelerated organic growth, while continuing to add acquisitions aligned to our core circuit protection, sensor and power control platforms.

Looking forward

While acquisitions drove much of Littelfuse's growth during the fourth quarter, an acceleration of organic revenue growth helped things along. The industrial segment continues to be a drag on the business as a whole, but strong performance in other areas, particularly the electronics segment, more than offset this weakness.

The company expects to continue growing revenue and earnings this year. The stock has soared about 57% over the past year as Littelfuse's results have consistently beat expectations. Another year of solid growth could reward investors further.