Nidec to Buy Back Shares With Higher Profit Results, Outlook

(Bloomberg) -- Nidec Corp. raised its annual outlook and said it will buy back shares after reporting quarterly profit and sales that topped analysts’ estimates, underscoring strong demand for motors by automakers and companies seeing higher sales due to the pandemic.

The Japanese manufacturer raised its operating income forecast for the current fiscal year to March to 155 billion yen ($1.5 billion), up from the prior outlook of 140 billion yen and analysts’ average projection for 149 billion yen. The 50 billion yen share repurchase, lasting a year, represents as much as 0.68% of the company’s stock, it said in a statement Monday.

Nidec, a key supplier in the global electric-motor industry, is attracting increased attention amid the shift to electric vehicles. The company is betting that its playbook of becoming a supplier of 85% of the world’s hard-disk drives — high-quality, precise, affordable motors — can be used to equipped automakers with traction motors, the most important component in EVs after the battery.

Over the most recent three-month period, Nidec has attracted 15 new inquiries about its EV motors, Nidec’s President and Chief Operating Officer Jun Seki said at a briefing Monday. The company’s automotive segment, which includes its EV motor business, reached a record high in terms of sales for the April-December quarter. As the company aims for 10 trillion yen in net sales by fiscal 2030, “we’re going to achieve record highs each period going forward” in the automotive segment, he said.

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Jefferies initiated coverage of Nidec with a buy rating last week, saying it was “one of the most competitive players” in the supply of related motors. Of the 25 analysts tracking the stock, 23 rate it a buy, while two have assigned a sell rating.

Nidec is trying to make its traction motors the de facto standard for EVs, similar to what Intel is to PCs, wrote Jefferies analyst Yoshihiro Azuma in a report. Nidec should become the de facto standard “simply because Nidec can mass-produce better motors at lower cost than others including auto OEMS,” he wrote.

Shares of Nidec are up 10% this year, following a 73% jump in 2020, giving the company a market value of 8.5 trillion yen.

As many people in industrialized countries stay at home to comply with initiatives to curb the spread of Covid-19, appetite for appliances, technology products and air and heating systems have fueled greater demand for electric motors. At the same time, Nidec has been pushing deeper into the automotive sector with powertrain products, as well as motors for steering, air conditioning and other mechanicals that are being decoupled from combustion engines as carmakers seek greater fuel economy.

(Updates with company comment in fourth paragraph, details throughout.)