American Axle said to explore a sale of company

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The manufacturer has been a stalwart supplier of axles and drivetrain components to automakers. The company faces challenges to maintain revenue as key customers like Ford Motor Co. and General Motors electrify their vehicles and switch to different kinds of drivetrain components.

American Axle hasn’t yet been able to establish a key relationship in electric vehicles the way it has with the GM large truck and Stellantis’ Ram HD platforms, according to Dan Levy, an analyst at Credit Suisse, in a May 20 research note.

The company had net debt of $2.67 billion at the end of March, or about 3.6 times earnings, which could be a hurdle to a sale. But Levy projects the company will cut that ratio by generating $400 million in cash in 2023.

American Axle was created in 1994 when a group of investors including former Chrysler Corp. manufacturing chief Richard E. Dauch, industrialists Mort Harris and Ray Park and former Volkswagen executive James McClernon bought aging powertrain plants from General Motors. The company went public in 1999.

American Axle is now led by CEO David Dauch, son of the company’s co-founder.

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