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Sydnee Gatewood
Sydnee Gatewood
Articles (3388) 

Longleaf Partners Comments on CNH Industrial

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January 19, 2021 | About:
CNH Industrial (NYSE:CNHI) (15%, 0.76%; 63%, 3.24%), one of the world's largest agriculture machinery manufacturers, was another top contributor for the quarter, taking it into positive territory for the year. CNH started off the year with the worse-than-expected first quarter results caused by COVID-related demand disruption and production shutdowns starting in March. Margins across all segments were down primarily due to operating deleverage and cash flows deteriorating as sales and EBITDA collapsed, exacerbating the working capital drain. However, CNH showed strong sequential improvements, posting strong 2Q and 3Q results which far exceeded market consensus and management's initial conservative outlook. During the last quarter, industrial sales grew 4% year-over-year, compared to the market expectation of a 15% decline. The Agricultural Equipment business, which represents the majority of our appraisal value, showed its resiliency by posting a constant currency growth of 14% year-over-year. Despite the initial concerns on inventory buildup, CNH made significant progress by lowering its channel inventory by 35% in the quarter. Additionally, the order book grew double-digits, ending the year in a position of strength. Free cash flow has improved significantly from US$-1.5 billion in 1Q to US$1 billion in 3Q, driven by end market demand recovery, working capital reduction and prudent cash preservation measures. The company recently issued notes at very favorable rates, ensuring it has ample liquidity. We welcome the appointment of Scott Wine as CEO. He joins from Polaris, where he had a strong track record of compounding shareholder returns and encouraging employee ownership. CNH publicly reiterated Wine's commitment to delivering on the previously-announced split of the business into a pureplay Ag/Construction company and a commercial vehicle/powertrain company.

From Mason Hawkins (Trades, Portfolio)' Longleaf Partners Fund fourth-quarter 2020 commentary.

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