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Aptiv Stock Accelerates on Strong First Quarter, Announcements

By Daniel Miller – May 4, 2018 at 1:03PM

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Investors in the automotive technology company had plenty to digest.

Aptiv PLC (NYSE: APTV), formerly Delphi Automotive, a technology company focused on developing and producing the next generation of safety products, autonomous vehicle technology, and connectivity services, has become a prominent choice for investors looking to own a share of the automotive industry's wild and potentially lucrative future. Aptiv's stock moved 6.5% higher Wednesday after the company posted a strong first quarter and announced an acquisition and an intriguing project. Let's dig into the highlights.

First-quarter highlights

Aptiv reported first-quarter revenue that jumped 15% year over year to $3.6 billion; adjusted for currency exchange, acquisitions and divestitures, it was still a strong 8% growth. Adjusted operating income margin increased 60 basis points to 11.8%, and adjusted operating income jumped 21% to $427 million. Adjusted earnings per share jumped 19% to $1.29 -- all in all, a strong quarter.

"We are off to an outstanding start in 2018, with revenue and earnings above first quarter expectations," said Kevin Clark, president and chief executive officer, in a press release. "Our Aptiv team delivered record financial performance, with 8% organic growth resulting from strong gains across the portfolio led by double-digit growth in our fastest-growing product lines, including active safety, infotainment and vehicle electrification. "

The strong quarter gave management confidence to bump up its full-year 2018 guidance slightly on revenue and operating income. Previously, Aptiv had guided for adjusted revenue growth to check in between 5% and 6%; it increased the range to between 6% and 7%. Operating income was projected to grow 8% at the midpoint of guidance and is now expected to check in at 12%.

But wait, there's more

Aptiv has proven adept at acquiring businesses that complement and expand on existing platforms as well as accelerate speed to market for critical products. Management's announcement that it will be acquiring KUM Co. continues that trend. KUM is a "leading manufacturer of specialized connectors and cable management" and is a leader in Asia-Pacific markets. It's a brilliant move to strengthen Aptiv's foothold in that geographical segment and is expected to be accretive to 2018 earnings.

In addition, Aptiv announced the launch of 30 autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas on the Lyft network. It's a multiyear agreement between the two companies and is a clear step toward generating driverless-vehicle revenue -- albeit a small step, for now.

Fleet of parked Aptiv/Lyft partnered vehicles.

Image source: Aptiv.

"With Aptiv's autonomous driving technology deployed throughout Las Vegas and broadly accessible through the Lyft app, a wide range of consumers will be able to share the experience of autonomous vehicles in a complex urban environment," Clark said in a press release. "More importantly, the resulting knowledge and data will allow us to further refine our autonomous driving capabilities and strengthen our portfolio of industry-leading active safety solutions."

Aptiv's quarter was a busy one, and a great example of what investors can expect going forward: growth, acquisitions, driverless projects. That's what makes Aptiv a very intriguing stock, and one that auto investors should definitely keep an eye on.

Daniel Miller has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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