10-K 1 axl201710k.htm FORM 10-K DECEMBER 31, 2017 Document
                    

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

/X/ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017

or

/ / TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from _______ to _______

Commission file number 1-14303

AMERICAN AXLE & MANUFACTURING HOLDINGS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
DELAWARE
 
38-3161171
(State or other jurisdiction of
 
(I.R.S. Employer
incorporation or organization)
 
Identification No.)
 
 
 
ONE DAUCH DRIVE, DETROIT, MICHIGAN
 
48211-1198
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
313-758-2000
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
COMMON STOCK, PAR VALUE $0.01 PER SHARE
 
NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE
PREFERRED SHARE PURCHASE RIGHTS, PAR VALUE $0.01 PER SHARE
 
NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x No o

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes o No x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes x No o

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See definition of “accelerated filer”, “large accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    
Large accelerated filer x Accelerated filer o Non-accelerated filer o Smaller reporting company o
(Do not check if small reporting company)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o No x

The closing price of the Common Stock on June 30, 2017 as reported on the New York Stock Exchange was $15.60 per share and the aggregate market value of the registrant's Common Stock held by non-affiliates was approximately $1,311.2 million.

As of February 13, 2018, the number of shares of the registrant's Common Stock, $0.01 par value, outstanding was 111,299,405 shares.

Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of the registrant's Annual Report to Stockholders for the year ended December 31, 2017 and Proxy Statement for use in connection with its Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on May 3, 2018, to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A not later than 120 days after December 31, 2017, are incorporated by reference in Part I (Items 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 3 and 4), Part II (Items 5, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 9, 9A and 9B), Part III (Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14) and Part IV (Item 15) of this Report.



AMERICAN AXLE & MANUFACTURING HOLDINGS, INC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS - ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K 
Year Ended December 31, 2017
 
 
 
Page Number
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1




Part I

Item 1.
Business

As used in this report, except as otherwise indicated in information incorporated by reference, references to “our Company,” "we," "our," "us" or “AAM” mean American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Inc. (Holdings) and its subsidiaries and predecessors, collectively.

General Development of Business

Holdings, a Delaware corporation, is a successor to American Axle & Manufacturing of Michigan, Inc., a Michigan corporation, pursuant to a migratory merger between these entities in 1999.

On April 6, 2017, Alpha SPV I, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holdings, merged with and into Metaldyne Performance Group, Inc. (MPG), with MPG as the surviving corporation in the merger. Upon completion of the merger, MPG became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holdings.

Information About Segments

Prior to our acquisition of MPG on April 6, 2017, we operated in one reportable segment: the manufacture, engineer, design and validation of driveline systems and related components and chassis modules for light trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), crossover vehicles, passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Subsequent to our acquisition of MPG, our business was organized into four operating segments, each representing a reportable segment under Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 280 Segment Reporting. Our four segments are Driveline, Metal Forming, Powertrain and Casting.

Our product offerings by segment are as follows:

Driveline products consist primarily of axles, driveshafts, power transfer units, rear drive modules, transfer cases, and electric and hybrid driveline products and systems for light trucks, SUVs, crossover vehicles, passenger cars and commercial vehicles;

Metal Forming products consist primarily of axle and transmission shafts, ring and pinion gears, differential gears, transmission gears and shafts, and suspension components for Original Equipment Manufacturers and Tier 1 automotive suppliers;

The Powertrain segment products consist primarily of transmission module and differential assemblies, transmission valve bodies, connecting rod forging and assemblies, torsional vibration dampers, and variable valve timing products for Original Equipment Manufacturers and Tier I automotive suppliers; and

The Casting segment produces both thin wall castings and high strength ductile iron castings, as well as differential cases, steering knuckles, control arms, brackets, and turbo charger housings for the global light vehicle, commercial and industrial markets.

Narrative Description of Business

Company Overview

Upon completion of our acquisition of MPG in April 2017, we became a global Tier I supplier to the automotive, commercial and industrial markets. We design, engineer, validate and manufacture driveline, metal forming, powertrain and casting products, employing over 25,000 associates, operating at more than 90 facilities in 17 countries, to support our customers on global and regional platforms with a continued focus on delivering operational excellence, technology leadership and quality.

We are the principal supplier of driveline components to General Motors Company (GM) for its full-size rear-wheel drive (RWD) light trucks and SUVs manufactured in North America, supplying substantially all of GM's rear axle and four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (4WD/AWD) axle requirements for these vehicle platforms. We also

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supply GM with various products from our each of our Metal Forming, Powertrain and Casting segments. Sales to GM were approximately 47% of our consolidated net sales in 2017, 67% in 2016, and 66% in 2015.

We are also a supplier to GM for certain axles and other driveline products for the life of each GM vehicle program covered by Lifetime Program Contracts and Long Term Program Contracts (collectively, LPCs). Substantially all of our sales to GM are made under purchase orders pursuant to the LPCs. The LPCs have terms equal to the lives of the relevant vehicle programs or their respective derivatives, which typically run five to seven years, and require us to remain competitive with respect to technology, design, quality and cost.
 
We also supply driveline system products to FCA US LLC (FCA) for heavy-duty Ram full-size pickup trucks and its derivatives, the AWD Jeep Cherokee, and a passenger car driveshaft program. In addition we sell various products to FCA from each of our Metal Forming, Powertrain and Casting segments. Sales to FCA were approximately 14% of our consolidated net sales in 2017, 18% in 2016 and 20% in 2015.

In addition to GM and FCA, we are a supplier to several major automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier I suppliers. Our consolidated net sales to customers other than GM were $3,334.6 million in 2017 as compared to $1,287.8 million in 2016 and $1,317.1 million in 2015. The increase in sales to customers other than GM in 2017, as compared to 2016 and 2015, is primarily attributable to our acquisition of MPG.

Business Strategy

We have aligned our business strategy to build value for our key stakeholders. We accomplish our strategic objectives by capitalizing on our competitive strengths and continuing to diversify our customer, product and geographic sales mix, while providing exceptional value to our customers.

Competitive Strengths

We achieve our strategic objectives by emphasizing a commitment to:

Sustaining our operational excellence and focus on cost management to deliver exceptional value to our customers.

In 2017, AAM received GM's 2016 Supplier of the Year Award, which is awarded to suppliers that consistently exceed GM's expectations, create outstanding value or bring new innovations to the company.

Also in 2017, we successfully launched approximately 75 programs and facilities across our four business units, and received new business awards from a variety of customers, including a new contract further commercializing our electric driveline systems technology at our e-AAM Driveline Systems AB (e-AAM) subsidiary.

We continue to focus on cost management through the implementation of the AAM Operating System to improve quality, eliminate waste and reduce lead time and total costs globally.

We have established a cost competitive, operationally flexible global manufacturing, engineering and sourcing footprint to increase our presence in global growth markets, support global product development initiatives and establish regional cost competitiveness.

Our business is vertically integrated to reduce cost and mitigate risk in the supply chain. Our acquisition of USM Mexico Manufacturing LLC (USM Mexico) in the first quarter of 2017 furthered our efforts to vertically integrate the supply chain and helped ensure continuity of supply for certain parts to our largest manufacturing facility.

Maintaining our high quality standards, which are the foundation of our product durability and reliability.

In 2017, the following facilities were recognized with the GM Supplier Quality Excellence Award for outstanding quality performance: Auburn Hills Manufacturing Facility in Michigan, Bluffton Manufacturing Facility in Indiana, Chicago Manufacturing Facility in Illinois, Colfor Minerva Manufacturing Facility in Ohio, Changshu Manufacturing Facility in China and Pyeongtaek Manufacturing Facility in South Korea.

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In 2017, our Twinsburg Manufacturing Facility in Ohio earned the highest score possible on GM's Built in Quality Supply Base (BIQS) audit, and our Rayong Manufacturing Facility in Thailand earned Ford's Q1 Certification in recognition of the facility's high standards of quality.

Also in 2017, our Ramos Manufacturing Facility in Mexico earned the FCA Outstanding Quality Award, our Swidnica Manufacturing location in Poland earned the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) "Q" Award, and our Oxford Manufacturing Facility in Michigan earned the Hino Quality Achievement Award.

AAM has an enhanced internal quality assurance system that drives continuous improvement to meet and exceed the growing expectations of our OEM customers.

Achieving technology leadership by delivering innovative products which improve the diversification of our product portfolio while increasing our total global served market.

In our Driveline segment, AAM's significant investment in research and development (R&D) has resulted in the development of advanced technology products designed to assist our customers in meeting the market demands for improved fuel efficiency; lower emissions; enhanced power density; advanced, sophisticated electronic controls; improved safety, ride and handling performance; and enhanced reliability and durability.

e-AAM was created to design and commercialize battery electric and hybrid driveline systems designed to improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and provide AWD capability. e-AAM has secured two driveline systems contracts featuring patented e-AAMelectric driveline systems technology. One of these programs is expected to launch in 2018, while the other is expected to launch by 2020.

AAM's EcoTrac® Disconnecting AWD system is a fuel-efficient driveline system that provides OEMs the option of an all-wheel-drive system that disconnects when not needed to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions compared to conventional AWD systems. This technology is featured on GM's newly designed Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, as well as FCA's AWD Jeep Cherokee and its derivatives. We are currently designing the next generation of our EcoTrac® Disconnecting AWD system (EcoTrac® Gen II), which is smaller, lighter in weight and recovers up to an estimated 90% of fuel penalty, compared to 80% currently. EcoTrac® Gen II is expected to launch in 2018.

AAM has established a high-efficiency product portfolio that is designed to improve axle efficiency and fuel economy through innovative product design technologies. As our customers focus on reducing weight through the use of aluminum and other lightweighting alternatives, AAM is well positioned to offer innovative, industry leading solutions. Our portfolio includes high-efficiency axles, aluminum axles and AWD applications for hybrid electric vehicles to full-electric vehicles. AAM's QuantumTM lightweight axle technology features a revolutionary design, which offers significant mass reduction and increased fuel economy and efficiency that is scalable across multiple applications without loss of performance or power.

In our Powertrain segment, we have identified opportunities to apply our high strength connecting rod technology and refined vibration control systems to support hybrid powertrain systems and power dense four cylinder and three cylinder engines that are smaller in size.

In our Metal Forming segment, we have developed forged axle tubes, which deliver significant weight and cost reductions as compared to the traditional welded axle tubes.

Our Casting segment has developed patented high strength ductile iron called Ductile - ITE, which provides the potential to reduce mass by up to 20% while providing greater overall strength. Also in our Casting segment, we have identified an opportunity to begin utilizing three-dimensional printed sand cores in our production process, which has the potential to reduce costs and floor space requirements.

We continue to invest in emerging technology such as torque biasing capability. We have developed capabilities in the areas of control systems and mechatronics to further integrate electronic components such as motors, actuators, and sensors into AAM's mechanical technology to enhance vehicle performance and provide superior torque management.

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To accelerate AAM's technological advancements, we have established our Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at our Detroit campus. This state-of-the-art facility is our center for technology benchmarking, prototype development, advanced technology development, supplier collaboration, customer showcasing and associate training on our future products, processes, and systems.

Diversification of Customer, Product and Geographic Sales Mix

Another element of building value for our key stakeholders is the diversification of our business through the growth of new and existing customer relationships and expansion of our product portfolio.

We continue to evaluate and consider strategic opportunities that will complement our core strengths and supplement our diversification strategies while providing future, profitable growth prospects. Our acquisition of MPG in 2017 was a key step in achieving our goals of customer, product and geographic diversification.

In addition to maintaining and building upon our longstanding relationships with GM and FCA, we are focused on generating profitable growth with new and existing global OEM customers. New business launches in 2017 included key customers such as Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan.

We are working on approximately $1.5 billion in quoted and emerging new business opportunities. These opportunities would allow us to continue the diversification and expansion of our customer base, product portfolio and global footprint.

We are focused on increasing our presence in global markets to support our customers' platforms.

As our customers continue to design their products for global markets, they will require global support from their suppliers. For this reason, it is critical that we maintain a global presence in these markets in order to remain competitive for new contracts. As a result of our acquisition of MPG, we have expanded our global presence, primarily in Europe and Asia.

Our joint venture (JV) with Hefei Automobile Axle Co., Ltd. (HAAC), a subsidiary of the JAC Group (Anhui Jianghuai Automotive Group Co., Ltd.), which includes 100% of HAAC's light commercial axle business, continues to be a strong advantage for building relationships with leading Chinese light truck manufacturers. HAAC supplies front and rear beam axles to several leading Chinese light truck manufacturers, including JAC and Foton (Beiqi Foton Motor Co., Ltd.).

Competition
 
We compete with a variety of independent suppliers and distributors, as well as with the in-house operations of certain vertically integrated OEMs. Technology, design, quality and cost are the primary elements of competition in our industry segment. In addition to traditional competitors in the automotive sector, the trend towards advanced electronic integration has increased the level of new market entrants, including technology companies.

Industry Trends

See Item 7, “Management's Discussion and Analysis - Industry Trends.”
    
Productive Materials

We believe that we have adequate sources of supply of productive materials and components for our manufacturing needs.  Most raw materials (such as steel) and semi-processed or finished items (such as castings) are available within the geographical regions of our operating facilities from qualified sources in quantities sufficient for our needs.  We currently have contracts with our steel suppliers that ensure continuity of supply to our principal operating facilities.  We also have validation and testing capabilities that enable us to strategically qualify steel sources on a global basis. As we continue to expand our global manufacturing footprint, we may need to rely on suppliers in local markets that have not yet proven their ability to meet our requirements. 


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Research and Development (R&D)

We continue to invest in the development of new products, processes and systems to improve efficiency and flexibility in our operations and continue to deliver innovative new products to our customers.

In 2017, R&D spending was $161.5 million as compared to $139.8 million in 2016 and $113.9 million in 2015. The focus of this investment continues to be developing innovative products for the automotive market. Product development includes power transfer units, transfer cases, driveline and transmission differentials, multi-piece driveshafts, constant velocity joints, torque transfer devices, chassis modules and front and rear drive axles. We continue to focus on electronic integration in our existing and future products to advance their performance. We also continue to support the development of hybrid and electric vehicle systems. Special emphasis is placed on the development of products and systems that provide our customers with advancements in fuel efficiency and emissions reduction, and improved performance metrics such as noise vibration harshness (NVH), power density, and traction control improvements for safety and stability. Our efforts in these areas have resulted in the development of prototypes and various configurations of our products for several customers throughout the world.

Our e-AAM subsidiary engineers and develops battery electric and hybrid driveline systems to be commercialized for crossover vehicles and passenger cars. These systems are designed to improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and provide AWD capability with the additional benefit of improved vehicle stability when compared to traditional mechanical AWD systems.

We have also developed and commercialized a disconnecting AWD system, which strengthens AAM's position as a leader in global technology. AAM's EcoTrac® Disconnecting AWD system technology seamlessly engages AWD functionality while improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. This technology is featured on the newly designed Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, as well as the AWD Jeep Cherokee and its derivatives.

AAM also develops and manufactures high-efficiency axle systems through the use of proprietary technologies to optimize product design and lubrication management, while significantly reducing friction and improving fuel economy. Our high-efficiency axles are featured on several premium OEM vehicles, including Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar Land Rover.

Through the development of our e-AAM™ hybrid and electric driveline systems, our EcoTrac® Disconnecting AWD system and our high-efficiency axles, we have significantly improved fuel efficiency and safety, ride and handling performance while reducing emissions for our customer's products.

As our customers continue to focus on reducing vehicle weight through the use of aluminum or other conventional means, AAM is well positioned to offer innovative, industry-leading solutions, through proprietary technologies such as QuantumTM axles, PowerLite® axles, PowerDense® gears and PowerFilm® lubricant.

Backlog

We typically enter into agreements to provide our products for the life of our customers' vehicle programs. Our new and incremental business includes awarded programs and incremental content and volume including customer requested engineering changes. Our backlog may be impacted by various assumptions, many of which are provided by our customers based on their long range production plans. These assumptions include future production volume estimates, changes in program launch timing and fluctuation in foreign currency exchange rates.

Our gross new and incremental business backlog is approximately $1.5 billion for programs launching from 2018 to 2020. In 2016, our gross new and incremental business backlog was approximately $875.0 million for programs launching from 2017 to 2019. The increase in our backlog for 2018 to 2020, as compared to 2017 to 2019 is primarily the result of our acquisition of MPG.

Of this $1.5 billion new and incremental business backlog, approximately 40% is for end use markets outside of North America. Light trucks, including crossover vehicles and SUVs, make up approximately 80% of the $1.5 billion backlog, and approximately 80% of our backlog relates to non-GM business.





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Patents and Trademarks

We maintain and have pending various U.S. and foreign patents, trademarks and other rights to intellectual property relating to our business, which we believe are appropriate to protect our interest in existing products, new inventions, manufacturing processes and product developments. We do not believe that any single patent or trademark is material to our business nor would expiration or invalidity of any patent or trademark have a material adverse effect on our business or our ability to compete.

Cyclicality and Seasonality

Our operations are cyclical because they are directly related to worldwide automotive production, which is itself cyclical and dependent on general economic conditions and other factors. Our business is moderately seasonal as our major OEM customers historically have an extended shutdown of operations (typically 1-2 weeks) in conjunction with their model year changeover and an approximate one-week shutdown in December. Our major OEM customers also occasionally have longer shutdowns of operations (up to 6 weeks) for program changeovers. Accordingly, our quarterly results may reflect these trends.

Litigation and Environmental Matters

We are involved in various legal proceedings incidental to our business. Although the outcome of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty, we do not believe that any of these matters, individually or in the aggregate, will have a material adverse effort on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

We are subject to various federal, state, local and foreign environmental and occupational safety and health laws, regulations and ordinances, including those regulating air emissions, water discharge, waste management and environmental cleanup. We will continue to closely monitor our environmental conditions to ensure that we are in compliance with all laws, regulations and ordinances. We have made, and anticipate continuing to make, capital and other expenditures (including recurring administrative costs) to comply with environmental requirements. Such expenditures were not significant in 2017, 2016 and 2015.

On April 6, 2017, we completed our acquisition of MPG. A subsidiary of MPG, Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC (Grede Wisconsin), had been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency for alleged Clean Air Act violations and alleged obstruction of justice relating to the January 2012 removal of debris from the roof of a heat treat oven that was purported to contain asbestos at a now closed Grede facility in Berlin, Wisconsin. The United States Attorney, Eastern District of Wisconsin, indicted Grede LLC and Grede II LLC, the parent company of Grede Wisconsin. During the fourth quarter of 2017, we settled this matter for approximately $0.5 million.

Associates

We employ over 25,000 associates on a global basis (including our joint venture affiliates) of which approximately 11,500 are employed in the U.S. and approximately 13,500 are employed at our foreign locations. Approximately 5,000 are salaried associates and approximately 20,000 are hourly associates. Of the 20,000 hourly associates, approximately 60% are covered under collective bargaining agreements with various labor unions.


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Executive Officers of the Registrant    
Name
 
Age
 
Position
David C. Dauch
 
53
 
Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer
Michael K. Simonte
 
54
 
President
David E. Barnes
 
59
 
Vice President & General Counsel
Timothy E. Bowes
 
54
 
President - Casting
David M. Buckley
 
53
 
Vice President - Strategic & Business Development
Gregory Deveson
 
56
 
President - Powertrain
Terri M. Kemp
 
52
 
Vice President - Human Resources
Michael J. Lynch
 
53
 
Vice President - Finance & Controller
Christopher J. May
 
48
 
Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Alberto L. Satine
 
61
 
President - Driveline
Norman Willemse
 
61
 
President - Metal Forming

David C. Dauch, age 53, has been AAM's Chief Executive Officer since September 2012. Mr. Dauch has served on AAM's Board of Directors since April 2009 and was appointed Chairman of the Board in August 2013. From September 2012 through August 2015, Mr. Dauch served as AAM’s President & CEO. Prior to that, Mr. Dauch served as President & Chief Operating Officer (2008 - 2012) and held several other positions of increasing responsibility from the time he joined AAM in 1995. Presently, he serves on the boards of Business Leaders for Michigan, the Detroit Economic Club, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Great Lakes Council Boy Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Michigan, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA), Amerisure Mutual Holdings, Inc. and the Amerisure Companies (since December 2014) and Horizon Global Corporation (since June 2015). Mr. Dauch also serves on the Miami University Business Advisory Council, the GM Supplier Council and the FCA NAFTA Supplier Advisory Council.

Michael K. Simonte, age 54, has been President since August 2015. Mr. Simonte previously served as Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer (since December 2011); Executive Vice President - Finance & Chief Financial Officer (since February 2009); Group Vice President - Finance & Chief Financial Officer (since December 2007); Vice President - Finance & Chief Financial Officer (since January 2006); Vice President & Treasurer (since May 2004); and Treasurer (since September 2002). Mr. Simonte joined AAM in December 1998 as Director, Corporate Finance. Prior to joining our Company, Mr. Simonte served as Senior Manager at the Detroit office of Ernst & Young LLP. Mr. Simonte is a certified public accountant.

David E. Barnes, age 59, has been General Counsel and Corporate Secretary since joining AAM in 2012, and became a Vice President in 2017. In addition to his responsibilities as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, he also serves as the Chief Compliance Officer of the Company. Prior to joining AAM, Mr. Barnes served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Atlas Oil Company. He has held various positions during his career at Ford Motor Company, Dykema Gossett and Venture Holdings LLC, after beginning his career at Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn. Mr. Barnes holds a juris doctor degree.

Timothy E. Bowes, age 54, has been President - Casting since August 2017. Mr. Bowes previously served as Senior Vice President - Strategic & Business Development (since April 2016) and Senior Vice President - Corporate Planning (since December 2015). Prior to joining AAM, Mr. Bowes served as Chief Executive Officer & President of Transtar Corporation, since 2013. Prior to Transtar, Mr. Bowes served as Executive Officer & President - Commercial Truck at Meritor Inc., which he joined in 2005. He has held various leadership positions during his 25-year automotive and industrial career, managing business operations, strategic opportunities and sales & marketing for multiple organizations. In addition to Transtar and Meritor, Mr. Bowes' career also includes working at Hilite International, Wescast Industries, Intermet Corporation and ITT Automotive.

David Buckley, age 53, joined AAM in November 2017 as Vice President - Strategic and Business Development. In this role, Mr. Buckley leads AAM's business development and strategic global growth initiatives. Prior to joining AAM, Mr. Buckley served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Vexos, Inc from 2014 to 2017. Before joining Vexos, Mr. Buckley gained extensive global leadership experience as Chief Executive Officer of Cross Match Technologies, Vectronix and Modtech. Earlier in his career, Mr. Buckley led successful business units at General Electric and PricewaterhouseCoopers consulting. Mr. Buckley is a certified LEAN expert. Mr. Buckley is

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also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and currently serves on the U.S. Naval Academy admissions board, and as a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation Board.

Gregory Deveson, age 56, joined AAM as President - Powertrain in April 2017. Prior to joining AAM, Mr. Deveson served as Senior Vice President of the Driveline Systems Group at Magna Powertrain from 2008 to 2016. Over his 25-year automotive and manufacturing career, Mr. Deveson has managed business operations, strategic opportunities, product engineering, purchasing and quality for multiple organizations.

Terri M. Kemp, age 52, has been Vice President - Human Resources since September 2012. Prior to that, she served as Executive Director - Human Resources & Labor Relations (since November 2010), Executive Director - Human Resources (since September 2009), Director - Human Resources Operations (since October 2008), and served in various plant and program management roles since joining the Company in July 1996. Prior to joining our Company, Mrs. Kemp served for nine years at Corning Incorporated, where she progressed through a series of manufacturing positions with increasing responsibility, including Industrial Engineer, Department Head and Operations Manager.

Michael J. Lynch, age 53, has been Vice President and Controller since February 2017. Prior to that, he served as Vice President - Driveline Business Performance & Cost Management (since May 2015); Vice President - Finance & Controller (since September 2012); Executive Director & Controller (since October 2008); Director - Commercial Analysis (since July 2006); Director - Finance, Driveline Americas (since March 2006); Director - Investment & Commercial Analysis (since November 2005); Director - Finance, Driveline (since October 2005); Director - Finance Operations, U.S. (since April 2005); Manager - Finance (since June 2003); Manager - Finance, Forge Division (since September 2001); Finance Manager - Albion Automotive (since October 1998); Supervisor - Cost Estimating (since February 1998) and Financial Analyst at the Detroit Manufacturing Facility since joining AAM in September 1996. Prior to joining our Company, Mr. Lynch served at Stellar Engineering for nine years in various capacities.

Christopher J. May, age 48, has been Vice President & Chief Financial Officer since August 2015. Prior to that, he served as Treasurer (since December 2011); Assistant Treasurer (since September 2008); Director of Internal Audit (since September 2005); Divisional Finance Manager - Metal Formed Products (since June 2003); Finance Manager - Three Rivers Manufacturing Facility (since August 2000); Manager, Financial Reporting (since November 1998) and Financial Analyst since joining AAM in 1994. Prior to joining AAM, Mr. May served as a Senior Accountant for Ernst & Young. Mr. May is a certified public accountant.

Alberto L. Satine, age 61, has been President - Driveline since August 2015. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President - Global Driveline Operations (since January 2014); Group Vice President - Global Sales & Business Development (since December 2011); Vice President - Strategic & Business Development (since November 2005); Vice President - Procurement (since January 2005); Executive Director, Global Procurement Direct Materials (since January 2004); General Manager, Latin American Driveline Sales and Operations (since August 2003) and General Manager of International Operations (since joining our Company in May 2001). Prior to joining our Company, Mr. Satine held several management positions at Dana Corporation, including the position of Regional President of Dana's Andean Operations in South America from 1997 to 2000 and General Manager of the Spicer Transmission Division in Toledo, Ohio from 1994 to 1997.

Norman Willemse, age 61, has been President - Metal Forming since August 2015. Prior to that, he served as Vice President - Metal Formed Product Business Unit (since December 2011); Vice President - Global Metal Formed Product Business Unit (since October 2008); Vice President - Global Metal Formed Product Operations (since December 2007); General Manager - Metal Formed Products Division (since July 2006) and Managing Director - Albion Automotive (since joining our Company in August 2001). Prior to joining our Company, Mr. Willemse served at ATSAS for seven years as Executive Director Engineering & Commercial and John Deere for over 17 years in various engineering positions of increasing responsibility. Mr. Willemse is a professional certified mechanical engineer.

Internet Website Access to Reports

The website for American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Inc. is www.aam.com. Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 are available free of charge through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC also maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. The information contained in the Company's website is not included, or incorporated by reference, in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Financial Information About Segments

We use Segment Adjusted EBITDA as the measure of earnings to assess the performance of each segment and determine the resources to be allocated to the segments. Segment Adjusted EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization for our reportable segments, excluding the impact of restructuring and acquisition-related costs, debt refinancing and redemption costs and non-recurring items. Refer to Item 7 - Management's Discussion and Analysis for reconciliation of non-GAAP and GAAP information.

Prior to our acquisition of MPG, we did not operate in what are now our Powertrain and Casting segments. The following tables outline our sales, Segment Adjusted EBITDA and total assets for each of our reporting segments as of, and for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015:
 
 
Year Ended December 31, 2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Driveline
 
Metal Forming
 
Powertrain
 
Casting
 
Corporate and Eliminations
 
Total
Sales
 
$
4,040.8

 
$
1,242.6

 
$
816.5

 
$
676.4

 
$

 
$
6,776.3

Less: Intersegment sales
 
1.1

 
412.6

 
9.9

 
86.7

 

 
510.3

Net external sales
 
$
4,039.7

 
$
830.0

 
$
806.6

 
$
589.7

 
$

 
$
6,266.0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Segment adjusted EBITDA
 
$
692.3

 
$
232.3

 
$
131.1

 
$
47.0

 
$

 
$
1,102.7

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total Assets
 
$
2,303.0

 
$
2,175.3

 
$
1,824.0

 
$
984.3

 
$
596.2

 
$
7,882.8


 
 
Year Ended December 31, 2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Driveline
 
Metal Forming
 
Powertrain
 
Casting
 
Corporate and Eliminations
 
Total
Sales
 
$
3,735.6

 
$
552.2

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
4,287.8

Less: Intersegment sales
 
4.9

 
334.9

 

 

 

 
339.8

Net external sales
 
$
3,730.7

 
$
217.3

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
3,948.0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Segment adjusted EBITDA
 
$
515.8

 
$
103.6

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
619.4

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total Assets
 
$
2,183.9

 
$
410.3

 
$

 
$

 
$
828.1

 
$
3,422.3



10




 
 
Year Ended December 31, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Driveline
 
Metal Forming
 
Powertrain
 
Casting
 
Corporate and Eliminations
 
Total
Sales
 
$
3,690.0

 
$
560.1

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
4,250.1

Less: Intersegment sales
 
1.8

 
345.2

 

 

 

 
347.0

Net external sales
 
$
3,688.2

 
$
214.9

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
3,903.1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Segment adjusted EBITDA
 
$
457.4

 
$
113.7

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
571.1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total Assets
 
$
2,059.6

 
$
303.5

 
$

 
$

 
$
815.8

 
$
3,178.9


Assets included in the Corporate and Eliminations column of the tables above represent AAM corporate assets, as well as eliminations of intercompany assets. Refer to Note 14 - Segment and Geographic Information for additional financial detail on our segments.

Financial Information About Geographic Areas

International operations are subject to certain additional risks inherent in conducting business outside the U.S., such as changes in currency exchange rates, price and currency exchange controls, import restrictions, nationalization, expropriation and other governmental action. Financial information relating to our operations by geographic area is presented in the following table. Net sales are attributed to countries based upon location of customer. Long-lived assets exclude deferred income taxes.

 
December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(in millions)
Net sales
 
 
 
 
 
United States
$
3,319.4

 
$
2,147.9

 
$
2,121.9

Canada
310.1

 
94.7

 
119.3

Mexico
1,393.3

 
1,061.9

 
1,060.2

South America
161.8

 
124.6

 
106.6

China
297.3

 
203.4

 
185.5

All other Asia
291.9

 
208.8

 
185.2

Europe
480.6

 
102.8

 
120.6

Other
11.6

 
3.9

 
3.8

Total net sales
$
6,266.0

 
$
3,948.0

 
$
3,903.1

 
 
 
 
 
 
Long-lived assets
 
 
 
 
 
United States
$
4,253.8

 
$
831.0

 
$
824.0

Mexico
993.8

 
529.2

 
522.6

South America
61.4

 
61.5

 
48.5

China
180.9

 
129.8

 
85.8

All other Asia
103.4

 
92.0

 
103.7

Europe
307.4

 
111.7

 
120.3

Total long-lived assets
$
5,900.7

 
$
1,755.2

 
$
1,704.9




11




Item 1A.
Risk Factors

The following risk factors and other information included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K should be considered as our business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows could be materially adversely affected if any of the following risks occur.

Our business is significantly dependent on sales to GM and FCA.

We are the principal supplier of driveline components to GM for its full-size RWD light trucks and SUVs manufactured in North America, supplying substantially all of GM's rear axle and 4WD/AWD axle requirements for these vehicle platforms. We also supply GM with various products from each of our Metal Forming, Powertrain and Casting segments. Sales to GM were approximately 47% of our consolidated net sales in 2017, 67% in 2016, and 66% in 2015. A reduction in our sales to GM or a reduction by GM of its production of RWD light trucks or SUVs, as a result of market share losses of GM or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

We also supply driveline system products for FCA's heavy-duty Ram full-size pickup trucks and its derivatives, the AWD Jeep Cherokee and a passenger car driveshaft program. In addition, we sell various products to FCA from each of our Metal Forming, Powertrain and Casting segments. Sales to FCA accounted for approximately 14% of our consolidated net sales in 2017, 18% in 2016 and 20% in 2015. A reduction in our sales to FCA or a reduction by FCA of its production of the programs we support, as a result of market share losses of FCA or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our business may also be adversely affected by reduced demand for the product programs we currently support, or anticipate supporting in the future, or if we do not obtain sales orders for successor programs that replace our current product programs.

Our business is dependent on the rear-wheel drive light truck and SUV market segments in North America.
 
A substantial portion of our revenue is derived from products supporting RWD light truck and SUV platforms in North America. Sales and production levels of light trucks and SUVs can be affected by many factors, including changes in consumer demand; product mix shifts favoring other types of light vehicles, such as front-wheel drive based crossover vehicles and passenger cars; fuel prices; and government regulations. A reduction in the market segment we currently supply could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

We are under continuing pressure from our customers to reduce our prices.

Annual price reductions are a common practice in the automotive industry. The majority of our products are sold under purchase orders pursuant to long-term contracts with prices scheduled at the time the contracts are established. Many of our contracts require us to reduce our prices in subsequent years and most of our contracts allow us to adjust prices for engineering changes. If we must accommodate a customer's demand for higher annual price reductions and are unable to offset the impact of any such price reductions through continued technology improvements, cost reductions or other productivity initiatives, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Our business faces substantial competition.

The automotive industry is highly competitive. Our competitors include manufacturing facilities controlled by OEMs, as well as many other domestic and foreign companies possessing the capability to produce some or all of the products we supply. In addition to traditional competitors in the automotive sector, the trend towards advanced electronic integration has increased the level of new market entrants, including technology companies. Some of our competitors are affiliated with OEMs and others have economic advantages as compared to our business, such as patents, existing underutilized capacity and lower wage and benefit costs. Technology, design, quality and cost are the primary elements of competition in our industry segment. As a result of these competitive pressures and other industry trends, OEMs and suppliers are developing strategies to reduce costs. These strategies include supply base consolidation, OEM in-sourcing and global sourcing. Our business may be adversely affected by increased competition from suppliers benefiting from OEM affiliate relationships or financial and other resources that we do not

12




possess. Our business may also be adversely affected if we do not sustain our ability to meet customer requirements relative to technology, design, quality, delivery and cost.

If we are unable to respond timely to changes in regulation, technology, and market innovation, we risk not being able to develop our intellectual property into commercially viable products.

Our results of operations and financial condition are impacted, in part, by our competitive advantage in developing, engineering, and manufacturing innovative products. In the future, our ability to anticipate changes in technology, successfully develop, engineer, and bring to market new and innovative proprietary products, or successfully respond to evolving business models, will have a significant impact on our market competitiveness. If we are unable to maintain our competitive advantage through innovation, there could be a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our company's global operations are subject to risks and uncertainties.

We have business and technical offices and manufacturing facilities in multiple countries outside the United States. International operations are subject to certain risks inherent in conducting business outside the U.S., such as changes in currency exchange rates, tax laws, price and currency exchange controls, import restrictions, nationalization, expropriation and other governmental action. Our global operations also may be adversely affected by political events, domestic or international terrorist events and hostilities, natural disasters and significant weather events, or disruptions in the global financial markets. Certain events, such as the United Kingdom's continued efforts to exit the European Union, potential changes in immigration policies, and tax reform, create a level of uncertainty for multi-national companies. As U.S. companies continue to expand globally, increased complexity exists due to recent changes to the U.S. corporate tax code, potential revisions to international tax law treaties, and renegotiated trade deals, including potential changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These uncertainties could have a material adverse effect on our business and our results of operations and financial condition. As we continue to expand our business globally, our success will depend, in part, on our ability to anticipate and effectively manage these and other risks.

Our business is dependent on our Guanajuato Manufacturing Complex.

A high concentration of our global business is supported by our Guanajuato Manufacturing Complex (GMC) in Mexico. In 2017, GMC represented nearly 40% of our consolidated net sales, and represented a significant portion of our profitability and cash flow from operations. We expect GMC to continue to represent a substantial portion of these metrics for the foreseeable future. A significant disruption to our GMC operations as a result of changes in trade agreements between Mexico and the U.S. (including NAFTA), tariffs, natural disaster or otherwise could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

We may be unable to consummate and successfully integrate acquisitions and joint ventures.

Engaging in acquisitions and joint ventures involves potential risks, including financial risks and failure to successfully integrate and realize the expected benefits of such acquisitions and joint ventures. On April 6, 2017, AAM completed our acquisition of 100% of the equity interests of Metaldyne Performance Group Inc. (MPG). Failure to successfully integrate our acquisition of MPG, or to realize the expected benefits and efficiencies of the acquisition, may have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition. Integrating acquired operations is a significant challenge and there is no assurance that we will be able to manage the integrations successfully.

As we continue to expand globally and accelerate our diversification efforts, we may pursue strategic growth initiatives with greater frequency. An inability to successfully achieve the levels of organic and inorganic growth from our strategic initiatives could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

A failure of our information technology (IT) networks and systems, or a failure to successfully integrate the IT systems of acquired companies, could adversely impact our business and operations.

We rely upon information technology networks and systems to process, transmit and store electronic information, and to manage or support a variety of business processes or activities. Additionally, we and certain of our third-party vendors collect and store personal information in connection with human resources operations and other aspects of our business. The secure operation of these information technology networks and systems and the

13




proper processing and maintenance of this information are critical to our business operations. We cannot be certain that the security measures we have in place to protect these systems and data will be successful or sufficient to protect our IT systems from current and emerging technology threats and damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, cyber attack and other similar disruptions. The occurrence of any of these events could compromise our networks, and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed or lost. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability or regulatory penalties under laws protecting the privacy of personal information, the disruption of our operations or damage to our reputation. We may be required to incur significant costs to protect against damage caused by these disruptions or security breaches in the future.
In connection with our recent acquisition of MPG, we have assessed MPG's existing IT systems and infrastructure, and have developed plans for integration, however, there is no assurance we will be able to successfully integrate the MPG IT systems on a timely basis, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our business could be adversely affected by the cyclical nature of the automotive industry.

Our operations are cyclical because they are directly related to worldwide automotive production, which is itself cyclical and dependent on general economic conditions and other factors, such as credit availability, interest rates, fuel prices and consumer confidence. Our business may be adversely affected by an economic decline or fiscal crisis that results in a reduction of automotive production and sales by our largest customers.

Negative or unexpected tax consequences, as well as possible changes in foreign and domestic tax laws could adversely affect our results of operations.
On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the 2017 Act) was signed into law in the United States. The 2017 Act is expected to result in significant changes to tax regulations in the U.S., and the impacts to our business and future financial results are not fully known. In addition, there have been recent global proposals brought forward by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) alongside the Group of Twenty (G-20), for tax jurisdictions to evaluate reforming longstanding corporate tax law principles and treaties that could adversely affect multi-national companies. Although the OECD does not enact tax law, proposals like this or others that lead to substantial changes in enacted tax laws and treaties could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.
We file income tax returns in the U.S. federal jurisdiction, as well as various states and foreign jurisdictions. We are also subject to examinations of these income tax returns by the relevant tax authorities. Based on the status of these audits and the protocol of finalizing audits by the relevant tax authorities, it is not possible to estimate the impact of changes, if any, to previously recorded uncertain tax positions. Any negative or unexpected outcomes of these examinations and audits could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

We may incur material losses and costs as a result of product recall or field action, product liability and warranty claims, litigation and other disputes and claims.

We are exposed to warranty, product recall or field action and product liability claims in the event that our products fail to perform as expected, and we may be required to participate in a recall of such products. We are not responsible for certain warranty claims that may be incurred by our customers, which include returned components for which no trouble was found upon inspection, discretionary acts of dealer goodwill, defects related to certain directed buy components, and build-to-print design issues. We review warranty claim activity in detail, and we may have disagreements with our customers as to responsibility for these types of costs incurred by our customers. In addition, as we continue to diversify our customer base, we expect our obligation to share in the cost of providing warranties as part of our agreements with new customers will increase. Costs and expenses associated with warranties, field actions, product recalls and product liability claims could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition and may differ materially from the estimated liabilities that we have recorded in our consolidated financial statements.

In addition to warranty claims relating directly to products we produce, potential product recalls for our customers and their other suppliers, and the potential reputational harm that may result from such product recalls, could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

14





We are also involved in various legal proceedings incidental to our business. Although we believe that none of these matters are likely to have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition, there can be no assurance as to the ultimate outcome of any such legal proceeding or any future legal proceedings.

Our business could be adversely affected by disruptions in our supply chain and our customers' supply chain.

We depend on a limited number of suppliers for certain key components and materials needed for our products. We rely upon, and expect to continue to rely upon, certain suppliers for critical components and materials that are not readily available in sufficient volume from other sources. As we continue to expand our global manufacturing footprint, we may need to rely on suppliers in local markets that have not yet proven their ability to meet our requirements. These supply chain characteristics make us susceptible to supply shortages and price increases. If production volumes increase rapidly, there can be no assurance that the suppliers of critical components and materials will be able or willing to meet our future needs on a timely basis.

Our supply chain, as well as our customers' supply chain, is also at risk of unanticipated events such as natural disasters or changes in governmental regulations and trade agreements (including NAFTA), that could cause a disruption in the supply of critical components to us and our customers. A significant disruption in the supply of these materials could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our company or our customers may not be able to successfully and efficiently manage the timing and costs of new product program launches.

Certain of our customers are preparing to launch new product programs for which we will supply newly developed products and related components.  There can be no assurance that we will successfully complete the transition of our manufacturing facilities and resources to support these new product programs or other future product programs on a timely and cost efficient basis.  Accordingly, the launch of new product programs may adversely affect production rates or other operational efficiency and profitability measures at our facilities.  We may also experience difficulties with the performance of our supply chain on program launches, which could result in our inability to meet our contractual obligations to key customers. Production shortfalls or production delays, if any, could result in our failure to effectively manage our material and freight costs relating to these program launches. In addition, our customers may delay the launch or fail to successfully execute the launch of these new product programs, or any additional future product program for which we will supply products. Our revenues, operating results and financial condition could be adversely impacted if our customers fail to timely launch such programs or if we are unable to manage the timing requirements and costs of new product program launches.

Our company may not realize all of the revenue expected from our new and incremental business backlog.

The realization of incremental revenues from awarded business is inherently subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including the accuracy of customer estimates relating to the number of vehicles to be produced in new and existing product programs and the timing of such production, as well as the fluctuation in exchange rates for programs sourced in currencies other than our reporting currency. It is also possible that our customers may delay or cancel a product program that has been awarded to us. Our revenues, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected relative to our current financial plans if we do not realize substantially all the revenue from our new and incremental business backlog.

Exchange rate fluctuations could adversely affect our company's global results of operations and financial condition.

As a result of our international operations, we are exposed to foreign currency risks that arise from our normal business operations, including risks associated with transactions that are denominated in currencies other than our local functional currencies. Gains and losses resulting from the remeasurement of assets and liabilities in a currency other than the functional currency of our foreign subsidiaries are reported in current period income. In the future, unfavorable changes in exchange rate relationships between the functional currencies of our subsidiaries and their non-functional currency denominated assets and liabilities could have an adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition. While we use, from time to time, foreign currency forward contracts to help

15




mitigate certain of these risks and reduce the effects of fluctuations in exchange rates, our efforts to manage these risks may not be successful.

We are also subject to currency translation risk as we are required to translate the financial statements of our foreign subsidiaries to U.S. dollars. We report the effect of translation for our foreign subsidiaries with a functional currency other than the U.S. dollar as a separate component of stockholders' equity. Unfavorable changes in the exchange rate relationship between the U.S. dollar and the functional currencies of our foreign subsidiaries could have an adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our business could be adversely affected by volatility in the price of raw materials.

Worldwide commodity market conditions in recent years have resulted in volatility in the cost of steel and other metallic materials we use in production. During periods of general economic improvement and increases in customer demands, we have seen the cost of steel and metallic materials needed for our products increase. If we are unable to pass such cost increases on to our customers, this could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our business could be adversely affected if we fail to maintain satisfactory labor relations.

A significant portion of our hourly associates worldwide are members of industrial trade unions employed under the terms of collective bargaining agreements. There can be no assurance that future negotiations with our labor unions will be resolved favorably or that we will not experience a work stoppage or disruption that could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, there can be no assurance that such future negotiations will not result in labor cost increases or other terms and conditions that could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition or our ability to compete for future business.

We use important intellectual property in our business. If we are unable to protect our intellectual property, or if a third party makes assertions against us or our customers relating to intellectual property rights, our business could be adversely affected.

We own important intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, and are involved in numerous licensing arrangements. Our intellectual property plays an important role in maintaining our competitive position in a number of the markets that we serve. Our competitors may develop technologies that are similar to our proprietary technologies or design around the patents we own or license. Further, as we expand our operations in jurisdictions where the protection of intellectual property rights is less robust, the risk of others duplicating our proprietary technologies increases, despite efforts we undertake to protect them. Developments or assertions by or against us relating to intellectual property rights, and any inability to protect these rights, could materially adversely affect our business and our competitive position.

Our company's ability to operate effectively could be impaired if we lose key personnel.

Our success depends, in part, on the efforts of our executive officers and other key associates, such as engineers and global operational leadership. In addition, our future success will depend on, among other factors, our ability to continue to attract and retain qualified personnel, particularly engineers and other employees with critical expertise and skills that support key customers and products. The loss of the services of our executive officers or other key associates, unexpected turnover, or the failure to attract or retain associates, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our goodwill, other intangible assets, and long-lived assets are at risk of impairment if our business or market conditions indicate that the carrying value of those assets exceeds their fair value.

Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP) require that companies evaluate the carrying value of goodwill, other intangible assets, and long-lived assets routinely in order to assess whether any indication of asset impairment exists. Goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets are required to be evaluated on an annual basis, while finite-lived intangible assets and long-lived assets should be evaluated only when events and circumstances exist that indicate an asset or group of assets may be impaired.

Our recently completed acquisitions of USM Mexico and MPG significantly increased the value of our goodwill and other intangible assets and resulted in a change to our organizational structure from one reporting unit to

16




multiple reporting units. Due to the creation of these multiple reporting units, the threshold for analyzing impairment of goodwill has been reduced from an evaluation of the carrying value of our consolidated operations and its related fair value, to an analysis performed at the reporting unit level. This could potentially provide greater risk that goodwill becomes impaired in future operating periods. Further, the increase to goodwill and other intangible asset balances in connection with these acquisitions provides a greater chance that an impairment of these assets would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

We incurred substantial indebtedness in connection with financing our acquisition of MPG.

In conjunction with our acquisition of MPG, we incurred substantial indebtedness and related debt service obligations, which could have important consequences, including:

reduced flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business, the competitive environment and the industries in which we operate, and to technological and other changes;
lowered credit ratings;
reduced access to capital and increasing borrowing costs generally or for any additional indebtedness to finance future operating and capital expenses and for general corporate purposes;
reduced funds available for operations, capital expenditures and other activities; and
competitive disadvantages relative to other companies with lower debt levels.

Our New Senior Secured Credit Facilities, comprised of our Revolving Credit Facility, as well as our Term Loan A Facility and Term Loan B Facility (secured on a first priority basis by all or substantially all of the assets of AAM, Inc., the assets of Holdings and each guarantor's assets), and our senior unsecured notes, contain customary affirmative and negative covenants. These agreements include financial covenants based on total net leverage and cash interest expense coverage ratios and limitations on Holdings, AAM Inc, and their restricted subsidiaries to make certain investments, declare or pay dividends or distributions on capital stock, redeem or repurchase capital stock and certain debt obligations, incur liens, incur indebtedness, or merge, make certain acquisitions or sales of assets. A violation of any of these covenants or agreements could result in a default under these contracts, which could permit the lenders or note holders, as applicable, to accelerate repayment of any borrowings or notes outstanding at that time and levy on the collateral granted in connection with the senior secured credit facilities.  A default or acceleration under the senior secured credit facilities or the indentures governing the senior unsecured notes may result in increased capital costs and defaults under our other debt agreements and may adversely affect our ability to operate our business, our subsidiaries' and guarantors' ability to operate their respective businesses and our results of operations and financial condition.

Our company faces substantial pension and other postretirement benefit obligations.

We have significant pension and other postretirement benefit obligations to certain of our associates and retirees. Our ability to satisfy the funding requirements associated with these obligations will depend on our cash flow from operations and our ability to access credit and the capital markets. The funding requirements of these benefit plans, and the related expense reflected in our financial statements, are affected by several factors that are subject to an inherent degree of uncertainty and volatility, including governmental regulation. Key assumptions used to value these benefit obligations and the cost of providing such benefits, funding requirements and expense recognition include the discount rate, the expected long-term rate of return on pension assets, mortality rates and the health care cost trend rate. If the actual trends in these factors are less favorable than our assumptions, this could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our business is subject to costs associated with environmental, health and safety regulations.

Our operations are subject to various federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations governing, among other things, emissions to air, discharge to waters and the generation, handling, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste and other materials. We believe that our operations and facilities have been and are being operated in compliance, in all material respects, with such laws and regulations, many of which provide for substantial fines and criminal sanctions for violations. The operation of our manufacturing facilities entails risks in these areas, however, and there can be no assurance that we will not incur material costs or liabilities. In addition, potentially significant expenditures could be required in order to comply with evolving environmental, health and safety laws, regulations or other pertinent requirements that may be adopted or imposed in the future by governmental authorities.


17




Our restructuring initiatives may not achieve their intended outcomes.

We have initiated restructuring actions in recent years to reduce cost and realign certain areas of our business and may initiate further restructuring actions in future periods. There can be no assurance that such restructuring initiatives will successfully achieve the intended outcomes, or that the charges related to such initiatives will not have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Item 1B.
Unresolved Staff Comments

None.


18




Item 2.
Properties

The table below summarizes our global manufacturing locations, and key administrative locations:
North America
 
Europe
 
Asia
United States
 
Czech Republic
 
China
     Brewton, AL (d)
     Litchfield, MI (c)
 
     Oslavany (b)
 
     Changshu (a)
     Columbiana, AL (d)
     Oxford, MI (b)
 
     Zbysov (b)
 
     Hefei (JV) (a)
     Fort Smith, AR (c)
     Rochester Hills, MI (e)
 
England
 
     Huzhou City (JV) (b)
     Paris, AR (c)
     Royal Oak, MI (b)
 
     Halifax (c)
 
     Shanghai (e)
     Subiaco, AR (c)
     Southfield, MI (e)
 
France
 
     Suzhou (c)
     Bolingbrook, IL (b)
     Three Rivers, MI (a)
 
     Decines (c)
 
India
     Chicago, IL (b)
     Troy, MI (b)
 
     Lyon (c)
 
     Chennai (a)
     Bluffton, IN (c)
     Warren, MI (c)
 
Germany
 
     Jamshedpur (JV) (c)
     Columbus, IN (b)
     St. Cloud, MN (d)
 
     Bad Homburg (e)
 
     Pune (a), (e)
     Fort Wayne, IN (b)
     Biscoe, NC (d)
 
     Nurnberg (b)
 
South Korea
     Fremont, IN (c)
     Malvern, OH (b)
 
     Zell (b)
 
     Pyeongtaek (c)
     New Castle, IN (d)
     Minerva, OH (b)
 
Poland
 
Thailand
     North Vernon, IN (c)
     Twinsburg, OH (c)
 
     Świdnica (a)
 
     Rayong (a)
     Remington, IN (b)
     Ridgway, PA (c)
 
Scotland
 
 
     Rochester, IN (a)
     St. Mary's, PA (c)
 
     Glasgow (a)
 
 
     Auburn Hills, MI (b)
     Charleston, SC (a)
 
Spain
 
 
     Coldwater, MI (b)
     Browntown, WI (d)
 
     Barcelona (c)
 
 
     Detroit, MI (e)
     Menomonee Falls, WI (d)
 
     Valencia (c)
 
 
     Fraser, MI (b)
     Reedsburg, WI (d)
 
Sweden
 
 
     Kingsford, MI (d)
     Wauwatosa, WI (d)
 
     Trollhättan (a), (e)
 
 
Mexico
 
 
 
 
     Aguascalientes (c)
     Ramos Arizpe (c)
 
South America
 
 
     El Carmen (d)
     Silao (a), (b)
 
Brazil
 
 
 
 
 
     Araucária (a)
 
 
 
 
 
     Indaiatuba (c)
 
 
(a) Location supports the Driveline segment. (b) Location supports the Metal Forming segment. (c) Location supports the Powertrain segment. (d) Location supports the Casting segment. (e) Administrative, engineering or technical location.

We believe that our property and equipment is properly maintained and in good operating condition. We will continue to evaluate capacity requirements in light of current and projected market conditions. We also intend to continue redeploying assets in order to increase our capacity utilization and reduce future capital expenditures to support program launches.


19




Item 3.
Legal Proceedings

We are involved in various legal proceedings incidental to our business. Although the outcome of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty, we do not believe that any of these matters, individually or in the aggregate, will have a material effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

We are subject to various federal, state, local and foreign environmental and occupational safety and health laws, regulations and ordinances, including those regulating air emissions, water discharge, waste management and environmental cleanup. We closely monitor our environmental conditions to ensure that we are in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and ordinances. We have made, and anticipate continuing to make, capital and other expenditures to comply with environmental requirements, including recurring administrative costs. Such expenditures were not significant in 2017, 2016 and 2015.

On April 6, 2017, we completed our acquisition of MPG. A subsidiary of MPG, Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC (Grede Wisconsin), had been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency for alleged Clean Air Act violations and alleged obstruction of justice relating to the January 2012 removal of debris from the roof of a heat treat oven that was purported to contain asbestos at a now closed Grede facility in Berlin, Wisconsin. The United States Attorney, Eastern District of Wisconsin, indicted Grede LLC and Grede II LLC, the parent company of Grede Wisconsin. During the fourth quarter of 2017, we settled this matter for approximately $0.5 million.
 
Item 4.
Mine Safety Disclosures
    
Not applicable.


20




Part II

Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information
        
Our common stock, par value $0.01 per share, is listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “AXL.”
        
Stockholders and High and Low Sales Prices
2017
1st  Quarter
 
2nd  Quarter
 
3rd  Quarter
 
4th  Quarter
 
Full Year
 
High
$
21.20

 
$
17.92

 
$
18.21

 
$
18.94

 
$
21.20

 
Low
$
18.54

 
$
14.30

 
$
13.59

 
$
16.46

 
$
13.59

2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
High
$
18.52

 
$
16.97

 
$
18.00

 
$
19.51

 
$
19.51

 
Low
$
11.75

 
$
13.76

 
$
14.32

 
$
13.45

 
$
11.75


Prices are the quarterly high and low closing sales prices for our common stock as reported by the NYSE. We had approximately 227 stockholders of record as of February 13, 2018.

Dividends

We did not declare or pay any cash dividends on our common stock in 2017. Our Credit Agreement associated with our New Senior Secured Credit Facilities that was entered into in connection with our acquisition of MPG, limits our ability to declare or pay dividends or distributions on capital stock.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

In 2016, AAM's Board of Directors authorized a share repurchase program of up to $100 million of AAM's common shares through December 31, 2018 as part of AAM's overall capital allocation strategy. The repurchase of shares may be made in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions and will be funded through available cash balances and cash flow from operations. The timing and amount of any share repurchases will be determined based on market and economic conditions, share price, alternative uses of capital and other factors. We did not repurchase any shares under the share repurchase program during 2017. As of December 31, 2017 there was approximately $98.5 million available for repurchase.

Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans

The information regarding our securities authorized for issuance under equity compensation plans is incorporated by reference from our Proxy Statement.

21




Item 6. Selected Financial Data

FIVE YEAR CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL SUMMARY
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
 
(in millions, except per share data)
 
Statement of income data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net sales
$
6,266.0

 
$
3,948.0

 
$
3,903.1

 
$
3,696.0

 
$
3,207.3

 
Gross profit
1,119.1

 
726.1

 
635.4

 
522.8

 
478.7

 
Selling, general and
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   administrative expenses
390.1

 
314.2

 
274.1

 
255.2

 
238.4

 
Amortization of intangibles
75.3

 
5.0

 
3.2

 
0.4

 
0.1

 
Restructuring and acquisition-related costs
110.7

 
26.2

 

 

 

 
Operating income
543.0

 
380.7

 
358.1

 
267.6

 
240.3

 
Net interest expense
(192.7
)
 
(90.5
)
 
(96.6
)
 
(97.8
)
 
(115.3
)
 
Net income
337.5

(a)(b) 
240.7

(a) 
235.6

(b) 
143.0

(c) 
94.5

(b) 
Net income attributable to AAM
337.1

(a)(b) 
240.7

(a) 
235.6

(b) 
143.0

(c) 
94.5

(b) 
Diluted earnings per share
$
3.21

 
$
3.06

 
$
3.02

 
$
1.85

 
$
1.23

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Balance sheet data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
376.8

 
$
481.2

 
$
282.5

 
$
249.2

 
$
154.0

 
Total assets
7,882.8

 
3,422.3

(d) 
3,176.9

(d) 
3,214.6

(d) 
2,979.6

(d) 
Total long-term debt, net
3,969.3

 
1,400.9

 
1,375.7

 
1,504.6

 
1,537.0

 
Total AAM stockholders' equity
1,536.0

 
504.2

(d) 
275.7

(d) 
87.6

(d) 
14.7

(d) 
Dividends declared per share

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Statement of cash flows data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash provided by operating
   activities
$
647.0

 
$
407.6

 
$
377.6

 
$
318.4

 
$
245.5

(e) 
Cash used in investing activities
(1,378.1
)
 
(227.7
)
 
(188.1
)
 
(195.3
)
 
(213.7
)
(e) 
Cash provided by (used in) financing
   activities
615.6

 
18.4

 
(143.6
)
 
(21.4
)
 
61.3

(e) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Depreciation and amortization
$
428.5

 
$
201.8

 
$
198.4

 
$
199.9

 
$
177.0

 
Capital expenditures
477.7

 
223.0

 
193.5

 
206.5

 
251.9

 
Acquisition of business, net of cash acquired
895.5


5.6







 
Proceeds from government grants

 
2.8

 
5.1

 
2.1

 

 
Purchase buyouts of leased equipment
13.3

 
4.6

 

 

 

 
Proceeds from sale-leaseback of equipment

 

 

 

 
24.1

 

(a)
For 2017, these amounts include acquisition and integration related charges of $56.0 million, net of tax, asset impairment and plant closure costs of $2.3 million, net of tax, and implementation costs, including professional expenses, relating to restructuring of $9.0 million, net of tax. For 2016, these amounts include acquisition and integration related charges of $7.1 million, net of tax, asset impairment and plant closure costs of $4.7 million and implementation costs, including professional expenses, relating to restructuring of $6.6 million, net of tax.

(b)
Includes charges of $2.3 million, net of tax, in 2017, $0.5 million, net of tax, in 2015 and $35.1 million, net of tax, in 2013 related to debt refinancing and redemption costs.

(c)
Includes a settlement charge of $23.1 million, net of tax, related to our terminated vested lump-sum pension payout in the U.S.

(d)
Each of these amounts have been adjusted by $25.8 million, net of tax, related to the retrospective application of our change in accounting principle for indirect inventory, which was effective in the second quarter of 2017, as described in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data - Note 1 - Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies.

(e)
These amounts have been adjusted to reflect the impact of retrospectively adopting the cash flow classification guidance in Accounting Standards Update 2016-15. In 2013, we made cash payments of $27.5 million for redemption premiums, tender premiums and professional fees associated with the repayment of our remaining 9.25% Notes and 7.875% Notes. These cash payments were classified within operating activities in 2013 and the table above reflects reclassification of these payments to financing activities as required by ASU 2016-15. Also in 2013, we received $5.0 million as the beneficiary of a key man life insurance policy upon the passing of our Co-Founder and former Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. This cash receipt was classified within operating activities in 2013 and the table above reflects reclassification of the cash receipt to investing activities as required by ASU 2016-15.

22




Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A)

COMPANY OVERVIEW

On April 6, 2017, Alpha SPV I, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Inc. (Holdings), merged with and into Metaldyne Performance Group Inc. (MPG), with MPG as the surviving corporation in the merger. Upon completion of the merger, MPG became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holdings. As a result, we are now a global Tier I supplier to the automotive, commercial and industrial markets. We design, engineer, validate and manufacture driveline, metal forming, powertrain and casting products, employing over 25,000 associates, operating at more than 90 facilities in 17 countries, to support our customers on global and regional platforms with a continued focus on delivering operational excellence, technology leadership and quality.

We are the principal supplier of driveline components to General Motors Company (GM) for its full-size rear-wheel drive (RWD) light trucks and SUVs manufactured in North America, supplying substantially all of GM's rear axle and four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (4WD/AWD) axle requirements for these vehicle platforms. We also supply GM with various products from our Metal Forming and Powertrain segments. Sales to GM were approximately 47% of our consolidated net sales in 2017, 67% in 2016, and 66% in 2015.
 
We are also a supplier to GM for certain axles and other driveline products for the life of each GM vehicle program covered by Lifetime Program Contracts and Long Term Program Contracts (collectively, LPCs). Substantially all of our sales to GM are made under purchase orders pursuant to the LPCs. The LPCs have terms equal to the lives of the relevant vehicle programs or their respective derivatives, which typically run five to seven years, and require us to remain competitive with respect to technology, design, quality and cost.

We also supply driveline system products for FCA US LLC (FCA) for heavy-duty Ram full-size pickup trucks and its derivatives, the AWD Jeep Cherokee, and a passenger car driveshaft program. In addition, we sell various products to FCA from each our Metal Forming, Powertrain and Casting segments. Sales to FCA were approximately 14% of our consolidated net sales in 2017, 18% in 2016 and 20% in 2015.

In addition to GM and FCA, we are a supplier to several major automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier I suppliers. Our consolidated net sales to customers other than GM were $3,334.6 million in 2017 as compared to $1,287.8 million in 2016 and $1,317.1 million in 2015.

Our acquisition of MPG has significantly increased the diversification in our product portfolio, and has accelerated customer diversification initiatives. As a result of our acquisition of MPG, sales to GM and FCA as a percentage of consolidated net sales has been reduced.

INDUSTRY TRENDS

There are a number of significant trends affecting the highly competitive global automotive industry. Intense competition, volatility in fuel, steel, metallic and other commodity prices and significant pricing pressures remain. At the same time, the industry is focused on investing in future products that will incorporate the latest technology and meet changing customer demands. The continued advancement of technology and product innovation, as well as the capability to source programs on a global basis, are critical to attracting and retaining business in the global automotive industry.

INCREASED DEMAND FOR FUEL EFFICIENCY AND EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS There has been an increased demand for technologies designed to help reduce emissions, increase fuel economy and minimize the environmental impact of vehicles. As a result, OEMs and suppliers are competing to develop and market new and alternative technologies, such as electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, fuel cells, and fuel-efficient engines. At the same time, OEMs and suppliers are improving products to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions through lightweighting and efficiency initiatives.

We are responding with ongoing research and development (R&D) efforts that focus on fuel economy, emissions reductions and environmental improvements by integrating electronics and technology. Through the development of our EcoTrac® Disconnecting AWD system, e-AAM hybrid and electric driveline systems, QuantumTM lightweight axle technology, high-efficiency axles, PowerLite® axles and PowerDense® gears, high strength connecting rod technology and refined vibration control systems, forged axle tubes, and high strength

23




ductile iron Ductile - ITE, we have significantly advanced our efforts to improve fuel efficiency, safety, and ride and handling performance while reducing emissions and mass. These efforts have led to new business awards and further position us to compete in the global marketplace.

In addition to AAM's organic growth in technology and processes, our acquisition of MPG has provided us with complementary technologies, expanded our product portfolio, significantly diversified our global customer base, and strengthened our long-term financial profile through greater scale. The anticipated synergies of this acquisition are expected to enhance AAM's ability to compete in today's technological and regulatory environment, while remaining cost competitive through increased scale and integration.

EVOLUTION OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY AS DEMAND FOR CAR-SHARING, RIDE-SHARING AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES INCREASES OEMs are increasingly focused on offering their own car-sharing rental businesses and ride-sharing services, in addition to selling vehicles. Car-sharing typically allows consumers to rent a car for a short period of time, while ride-sharing matches people to available carpools or other services that provide on-demand rides with the use of an online application. With continued urbanization, population growth and increased government regulations to ease congestion, it is expected that the markets for these services will continue to grow. As such, many OEMs are exploring and expanding their own car-sharing and ride-sharing efforts.

Another trend developing is the expectation that autonomous, self-driving cars will become more common with continued advancements in technology. Autonomous vehicles present many possible benefits, such as a reduction in deadly traffic collisions caused by human error and reduced traffic congestion, but there are also foreseeable challenges such as liability for damage and software reliability. The increased integration of electronics that will likely be required in autonomous vehicle developments will provide an opportunity for suppliers, such as AAM, with advanced capabilities in this area to be competitive in this expanding market.

INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR ELECTRONIC INTEGRATION The electronic content of vehicles continues to expand, largely driven by consumer demand for greater vehicle performance, enhanced functionality, and affordable convenience options. As electronic components become an increasingly larger focus for OEMs and suppliers, the industry will likely continue to see the addition of new market entrants from non-traditional automotive companies, including increased competition from technology companies. An area of focus will be the product development cycle and bridging the gap between the shorter development cycles of IT hardware and software and the longer development cycles of traditional powertrain components. AAM's product portfolio, including e-AAM hybrid and electric driveline systems, EcoTrac® Disconnecting AWD system, VecTrac™ Torque Vectoring Technology and TracRite® Differential Technology, are examples of AAM's enhanced capabilities in electronic integration.

GLOBAL AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTION AND INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION Asia and Eastern Europe continue to be an area of focus for automotive capital investment as well as strategic regions for innovation and new product development. As our customers design their products for global markets, they will continue to require global support from their suppliers. For this reason, it is critical that suppliers maintain a global presence in these markets in order to compete for new contracts. As a result of our acquisition of MPG, we have expanded our global presence, primarily in Europe and Asia. We also have engineering offices around the world to support our global locations and provide technical solutions to our customers on a regional basis.

The cyclical nature of the automotive industry, volatile commodity prices, the shifting demands of consumer preference, regulatory requirements and trade agreements require OEMs and suppliers to remain agile with regard to product development and global capability. A critical objective for OEMs and suppliers will be the ability to meet these global demands while effectively managing costs. OEMs and suppliers are preparing for these challenges through merger and acquisition activity, development of strategic partnerships and reduction of vehicle platform complexity. In order to effectively drive technology development, recognize cost synergies, and increase global footprint, the industry may continue to see consolidation in the supply base as companies recognize and respond to the need for scalability. Our acquisition of MPG is a critical step in achieving the aforementioned objectives.

24




RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
NET SALES Net sales increased to $6,266.0 million in 2017 as compared to $3,948.0 million in 2016 and $3,903.1 million in 2015. The impact of our acquisition of MPG on net sales in 2017 was approximately $2,022 million. Excluding the impact of our acquisition of MPG, our sales in 2017, as compared to 2016, reflect an increase in production volumes for the light truck and SUV programs we currently support, as well as the impact of program launches from our new business backlog and an increase in metal market pass-throughs to our customers, partially offset by the impact of annual productivity price-downs for certain programs.

The increase in sales in 2016, as compared to 2015, primarily reflects an increase of approximately 8% in production volumes for the North American light truck and SUV programs we currently support, which was partially offset by a reduction of approximately $51.0 million in commercial vehicle sales due to an expired program and reductions in both metal market pass throughs to our customers and the impact of foreign exchange related to translation adjustments.

COST OF GOODS SOLD Cost of goods sold was $5,146.9 million in 2017 as compared to $3,221.9 million in 2016 and $3,267.7 million in 2015. The impact on cost of goods sold of our acquisition of MPG was approximately $1,739 million in 2017, which includes $24.9 million for the step-up of inventory to fair value as a result of purchase accounting. Excluding the impact of our acquisition of MPG, the change in cost of goods sold principally reflects approximately $120 million related to increased production volumes and an increase of approximately $75 million related to metal market pass-through costs, partially offset by approximately $12 million associated with lower net manufacturing costs, including the impact of foreign exchange, and productivity initiatives. The change in cost of goods sold also reflects approximately $22 million related to the positive impact of vertically integrating our supply chain realized as a result of our acquisition of USM Mexico Manufacturing LLC (USM Mexico) in the first quarter of 2017.

The change in cost of goods sold in 2016, as compared to 2015, reflects a net reduction of approximately $6.0 million related to an increase in sales volumes and a product mix change in 2016, as compared to 2015, that was more than offset by the impact of lower net manufacturing costs, including the impact of foreign exchange, lower warranty expense, and productivity initiatives. Cost of goods sold was also impacted by a reduction of approximately $39.0 million related to metal market pass-through costs and foreign exchange related to translation adjustments.

Materials costs as a percentage of total cost of goods sold were approximately 62% in 2017, and 68% in both 2016 and 2015.

GROSS PROFIT Gross profit increased to $1,119.1 million in 2017 as compared to $726.1 million in 2016 and $635.4 million in 2015. Gross margin was 17.9% in 2017 as compared to 18.4% in 2016 and 16.3% in 2015. The impact of our acquisition of MPG on gross profit in 2017 was approximately $283 million. Excluding the impact of our acquisition of MPG, the change in gross profit in 2017 as compared to 2016, and the change in gross profit in 2016 as compared to 2015, reflect the benefit of increased contribution margin on higher production volumes for the light truck and SUV programs that we support.

Gross profit and gross margin were also impacted by the other factors discussed in Net Sales and Cost of Goods Sold above.

SELLING, GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES (SG&A) SG&A (including R&D) was $390.1 million in 2017 as compared to $314.2 million in 2016 and $274.1 million in 2015. SG&A as a percentage of net sales was 6.2% in 2017, 8.0% in 2016 and 7.0% in 2015. R&D spending was $161.5 million in 2017 as compared to $139.8 million in 2016 and $113.9 million in 2015. The change in SG&A in 2017, as compared to 2016, is primarily due to an increase of approximately $90 million associated with our acquisition of MPG. SG&A expense also reflects the increase in R&D spending in 2017 as compared to 2016, which was partially offset by the achievement of synergies associated with our restructuring actions initiated in 2016 and as a result of our acquisition of MPG.

The change in SG&A in 2016 as compared to 2015 was primarily due to higher R&D expense and higher incentive compensation accruals.



25





AMORTIZATION OF INTANGIBLE ASSETS As a result of our acquisitions of USM Mexico on March 1, 2017 and MPG on April 6, 2017, we recognized $1,254.8 million of intangible assets. Amortization expense for the year ended December 31, 2017 was $75.3 million as compared to $5.0 million and $3.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. The increase in amortization expense was attributable to the increase in intangible assets as a result of these acquisitions.

RESTRUCTURING AND ACQUISITION-RELATED COSTS In 2016, AAM initiated actions under a global restructuring program focused on creating a more streamlined organization in addition to reducing our cost structure and preparing for upcoming acquisition and integration activities. Restructuring and acquisition-related costs were $110.7 million in 2017, $26.2 million in 2016, and we did not incur any such costs in 2015. We incurred severance charges of approximately $2.0 million, as well as implementation costs, including professional expenses, of approximately $13.9 million during 2017. During the fourth quarter of 2017, we recorded a $1.5 million asset impairment charge related to the pending closure of one of our manufacturing facilities.

In 2016, we incurred severance charges of approximately $0.6 million, as well as other implementation costs, including professional fees, of approximately $10.2 million, and asset impairment charges of $4.5 million primarily related to the announced closure of a manufacturing facility in India.

Since inception of the global restructuring program, we have incurred severance charges totaling $2.6 million, implementation costs totaling $24.1 million, and asset impairment changes totaling $6.0 million. We expect to incur $10 to $20 million of additional charges under our global restructuring program in 2018.

On March 1, 2017, we completed our acquisition of 100% of USM Mexico, and on April 6, 2017, we completed our acquisition of 100% of the equity interests of MPG. During 2017 we incurred $40.7 million of acquisition-related costs, acquisition-related severance costs charges of $7.2 million, and $45.4 million of integration expenses associated with these acquisitions. Acquisition-related costs primarily consist of advisory, legal, accounting, valuation and certain other professional or consulting fees incurred. Also included in acquisition-related costs is a one-time charge of approximately $20 million for MPG stock-based compensation that was accelerated and settled as a result of the acquisition. Integration expenses reflect costs incurred for information technology systems, ongoing operational activities, and consulting fees incurred in conjunction with the acquisitions. We expect to incur additional integration charges of approximately $40 to $55 million in 2018, primarily in conjunction with our acquisition of MPG.

OPERATING INCOME Operating income increased to $543.0 million in 2017 as compared to $380.7 million in 2016 and $358.1 million in 2015. Operating margin was 8.7% in 2017 as compared to 9.6% in 2016 and 9.2% in 2015. The changes in operating income and operating margin in 2017, 2016 and 2015 were due to the factors discussed in Net Sales, Cost of Goods Sold, Gross Profit, SG&A, Amortization of Intangible Assets and Restructuring and Acquisition-Related Costs above.

INTEREST EXPENSE Interest expense was $195.6 million in 2017, $93.4 million in 2016 and $99.2 million in 2015. The increase in interest expense in 2017, as compared to 2016, primarily reflects interest expense incurred on borrowings under our New Senior Secured Credit Facilities on April 6, 2017 (as defined and described in the Liquidity and Capital Resources in this MD&A), as well as on $700.0 million aggregate principal amount of 6.25% senior notes and $500.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.50% senior notes (the Notes), which were issued on March 23, 2017 as part of the MPG acquisition. We expect our interest expense, including the borrowings under our New Senior Secured Credit Facilities and the issuance of the Notes, to be approximately $225 million on an annual basis.

The weighted-average interest rate of our total debt outstanding was 5.8% in 2017, 6.6% in 2016 and 6.3% in 2015.

INVESTMENT INCOME Investment income was $2.9 million in 2017 and 2016, and $2.6 million in 2015. Investment income includes interest earned on cash and cash equivalents during the period. 





26




OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE) Following are the components of Other Income (Expense) for 2017, 2016 and 2015:

Debt refinancing and redemption costs In 2017, we expensed $2.7 million of prepayment premiums related to the extinguishment of MPG's existing debt at the date of the acquisition and $0.8 million for the write-off of the remaining unamortized debt issuance costs related to our 5.125% Notes that were redeemed in the fourth quarter of 2017. There were no such costs in 2016, and in 2015, we expensed $0.8 million of unamortized debt issuance costs related to a voluntary election to prepay our outstanding term facility.

Other, net Other, net, which includes the net effect of foreign exchange gains and losses and our proportionate share of earnings from equity in unconsolidated subsidiaries, was expense of $6.8 million in 2017, compared to income of $8.8 million in 2016, and income of $12.0 million in 2015. The change in other, net primarily relates to foreign exchange remeasurement losses as a result of the U.S. dollar weakening against the Mexican Peso and Euro.

INCOME TAX EXPENSE Income tax expense was $2.5 million in 2017, $58.3 million in 2016, and $37.1 million in 2015. Our effective income tax rate was 0.7% in 2017 as compared to 19.5% in 2016 and 13.6% in 2015.

Our income tax expense and effective income tax rate for 2017 were lower than our income tax expense and effective income tax rate for 2016 as a result of an increase in the proportionate share of earnings attributable to lower tax rate jurisdictions. In addition, subsequent to the acquisition of MPG, we re-evaluated our valuation allowance position with regard to jurisdictions in which consolidated state tax returns are filed and recorded an income tax benefit for the year ended December 31, 2017. This was partially offset by a discrete tax adjustment related to certain non-deductible transaction and acquisition-related costs.

Further, we recognized a net benefit in 2017 related to accounting for the following provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: 1) remeasurement of our net deferred tax liabilities in the U.S. from 35% to 21%; and 2) a one-time transition tax on certain foreign earnings for which U.S. tax was previously deferred, which also resulted in a benefit related to the reduction of a previously recorded deferred tax liability on these foreign earnings.

Our effective income tax rate for 2016 was higher than our effective income tax rate for 2015 primarily due to the impact of an $11.5 million reduction in income tax expense related to uncertain tax positions attributable to transfer pricing in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Our income tax expense and effective income tax rate for 2017, 2016 and 2015, as compared to the U.S. federal statutory rate of 35%, also reflect favorable foreign tax rates, partially offset by our inability to realize a tax benefit for current foreign losses.

NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO AAM AND EARNINGS PER SHARE (EPS) Net income attributable to AAM was $337.1 million in 2017 as compared to $240.7 million in 2016 and $235.6 million in 2015. Diluted earnings per share was $3.21 in 2017 as compared to $3.06 per share in 2016 and $3.02 per share in 2015. Primarily as a result of the issuance of AAM common shares in conjunction with our acquisition of MPG, our EPS denominator increased by approximately 26 million shares for 2017 compared to 2016. Net Income and EPS were primarily impacted by the factors discussed in Net Sales, Cost of Goods Sold, SG&A, Amortization of Intangible Assets, Restructuring and Acquisition-Related Costs, Other Income (Expense) and Income Tax Expense above, as well as the issuance of the additional shares.


27




SEGMENT REPORTING

Prior to our acquisition of MPG on April 6, 2017, we operated in one reportable segment: the manufacture, engineer, design and validation of driveline systems and related components and chassis modules for light trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), crossover vehicles, passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Subsequent to our acquisition of MPG, our business was organized into four operating segments, each representing a reportable segment under ASC 280 Segment Reporting. The four segments are Driveline, Metal Forming, Powertrain and Casting.

The following tables outline our sales and Segment Adjusted EBITDA for each of our reporting segments for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015:

 
 
Year Ended December 31, 2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Driveline
 
Metal Forming
 
Powertrain
 
Casting
 
Corporate and Eliminations
 
Total
Sales
 
$
4,040.8

 
$
1,242.6

 
$
816.5

 
$
676.4

 
$

 
$
6,776.3

Less: Intersegment sales
 
1.1

 
412.6

 
9.9

 
86.7

 

 
510.3

Net external sales
 
$
4,039.7

 
$
830.0

 
$
806.6

 
$
589.7

 
$

 
$
6,266.0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Segment adjusted EBITDA
 
$
692.3

 
$
232.3

 
$
131.1

 
$
47.0

 
$

 
$
1,102.7


 
 
Year Ended December 31, 2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Driveline
 
Metal Forming
 
Powertrain
 
Casting
 
Corporate and Eliminations
 
Total
Sales
 
$
3,735.6

 
$
552.2

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
4,287.8

Less: Intersegment sales
 
4.9

 
334.9

 

 

 

 
339.8

Net external sales
 
$
3,730.7

 
$
217.3

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
3,948.0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Segment adjusted EBITDA
 
$
515.8

 
$
103.6

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
619.4


 
 
Year Ended December 31, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Driveline
 
Metal Forming
 
Powertrain
 
Casting
 
Corporate and Eliminations
 
Total
Sales
 
$
3,690.0

 
$
560.1

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
4,250.1

Less: Intersegment sales
 
1.8

 
345.2

 

 

 

 
347.0

Net external sales
 
$
3,688.2

 
$
214.9

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
3,903.1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Segment adjusted EBITDA
 
$
457.4

 
$
113.7

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
571.1


The increase in Driveline sales for the year ended December 31, 2017, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2016, primarily reflect the impact of program launches from our new business backlog, as well as an increase in metal market pass-throughs to our customers, which was partially offset by the impact of annual productivity price-downs for certain programs. Driveline sales for the year ended December 31, 2017 were also positively impacted by increased production volumes on the light truck and SUV programs we currently support.

The increase in Driveline sales in 2016, as compared to 2015, primarily reflects an increase of approximately 8% in production volumes for the North American light truck and SUV programs we supported, which was partially

28




offset by a reduction of approximately $51.0 million in commercial vehicle sales due to an expired program, and reductions in both metal market pass-throughs to our customers and the impact of foreign exchange related to translation adjustments.

The increase in net sales in our Metal Forming segment for the year ended December 31, 2017, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2016, was primarily attributable to the purchase of MPG.

For year ended December 31, 2017, the increase in sales in both the Powertrain and Casting segments, as compared to the years ended December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, was entirely attributable to our acquisition of MPG as AAM did not operate in these segments prior to the acquisition.

We use Segment Adjusted EBITDA as the measure of earnings to assess the performance of each segment and determine the resources to be allocated to the segments. For the year ended December 31, 2017, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2016, the increase in Segment Adjusted EBITDA for the Driveline segment was primarily attributable to contribution margin on increased volumes for light truck and SUV programs we currently support, as well as the impact of productivity initiatives and the reorganization to four reportable segments subsequent to our acquisition of MPG. The positive impact of these factors was partially offset by an increase in metal market pass-through costs.

For the year ended December 31, 2016, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2015, the increase in Segment Adjusted EBITDA for the Driveline segment was attributable to the benefit of increased contribution margin on higher production volumes for the North American light truck and SUV programs that we support, which was partially offset by an increase in R&D spending and higher incentive compensation accruals.

Metal Forming experienced an increase in Segment Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2017, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2016, primarily attributable to our acquisition of MPG.

For the year ended December 31, 2017, the increase in Segment Adjusted EBITDA in both the Powertrain and Casting segments, as compared to the years ended December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, was entirely attributable to our acquisition of MPG as AAM did not operate in these segments prior to our acquisition.

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP and GAAP Information

In addition to results reported in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP) in this MD&A, we have provided certain non-GAAP financial measures such as EBITDA and Segment Adjusted EBITDA. Such information is reconciled to its closest GAAP measure in accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission rules below.

We define EBITDA to be earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization. Segment Adjusted EBITDA is defined as EBITDA excluding the impact of restructuring and acquisition-related costs, debt refinancing and redemption costs, and non-recurring items. We believe that EBITDA is a meaningful measure of performance as it is commonly utilized by management and investors to analyze operating performance and entity valuation. Our management, the investment community and the banking institutions routinely use EBITDA, together with other measures, to measure our operating performance relative to other Tier 1 automotive suppliers. We believe that Segment Adjusted EBITDA is a meaningful measure as it is used to assess business and operating performance of the segments, and for operational planning and decision-making purposes. Non-GAAP financial measures are not and should not be considered a substitute for any GAAP measure. Additionally, non-GAAP financial measures as presented by AAM may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.


29




 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Net income
$
337.5

 
$
240.7

 
$
235.6

Interest expense
195.6

 
93.4

 
99.2

Income tax expense
2.5

 
58.3

 
37.1

Depreciation and amortization
428.5

 
201.8

 
198.4

EBITDA
$
964.1

 
$
594.2

 
$
570.3

Restructuring and acquisition-related costs
110.7

 
26.2

 

Debt refinancing and redemption costs
3.5

 

 
0.8

Non-recurring items:
 
 
 
 
 
Pension settlement
3.2

 

 

Acquisition-related fair value inventory adjustment
24.9

 

 

Impact of change in accounting principle
(3.7
)
 

 

Other non-recurring items

 
(1.0
)
 

Segment Adjusted EBITDA
$
1,102.7

 
$
619.4

 
$
571.1


LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

Our primary liquidity needs are to fund debt service obligations, capital expenditures and working capital requirements, in addition to advancing our strategic initiatives. We believe that operating cash flow, available cash and cash equivalent balances and available committed borrowing capacity under our New Senior Secured Credit Facilities (as defined below) will be sufficient to meet these needs.

OPERATING ACTIVITIES Net cash provided by operating activities increased to $647.0 million in 2017 as compared to $407.6 million in 2016 and $377.6 million in 2015. The following factors impacted cash provided by operating activities:

Net income and non-cash charges Net income increased to $337.5 million in 2017, as compared to $240.7 million in 2016. This was despite an increase in non-cash charges, primarily depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization was $428.5 million in 2017 as compared to $201.8 million in 2016. This was primarily related to increases in property, plant and equipment and intangible asset balances in 2017 as a result of our acquisitions of MPG and USM Mexico.

Restructuring and Acquisition-Related Costs We incurred $110.7 million and $26.2 million of charges related to restructuring and acquisition-related costs in 2017 and 2016, respectively, and a significant portion of these charges were cash charges. In 2018, we expect to incur $10 to $20 million of cash charges under our global restructuring program, as well as acquisition and integration related cash charges of approximately $40 to $55 million primarily related to further integrating the MPG business.

Interest paid Interest paid in 2017 was $182.7 million as compared to $87.2 million in 2016 and $93.8 million in 2015. The increase in interest paid in 2017, as compared to 2016, primarily relates to the additional indebtedness incurred in connection with our acquisition of MPG. The decrease in interest paid in 2016, as compared to 2015, was the result of a decrease in our outstanding borrowings.

Pension and Other Postretirement Benefits (OPEB) We contributed $1.1 million to our pension trusts in 2017. In 2015, we voluntarily contributed $18.3 million to one of our U.K. pension trusts to substantially satisfy our estimated U.K. regulatory funding requirements for 2016 through 2018. Due to the availability of our pre-funded pension balances (previous contributions in excess of prior required pension contributions) related to certain of our U.S. pension plans, we expect our regulatory pension funding requirements in 2018 to be approximately $2 million.

Our cash payments for OPEB, net of GM cost sharing, were $12.5 million in 2017, $17.0 million in 2016, and $14.2 million in 2015. This compares to our annual postretirement cost of $11.5 million in 2017, $12.1 million in 2016, and $13.5 million in 2015. We expect our cash payments for other postretirement benefit obligations in 2018, net of GM cost sharing, to be approximately $17 million.


30




Deferred revenue At December 31, 2017 and 2016, we had deferred revenue of $34.1 million and $24.6 million, respectively, classified as a current liability and $78.8 million and $70.8 million, respectively, classified as a noncurrent liability in our Consolidated Balance Sheets. These amounts were primarily related to cash receipts from customers for various settlements and commercial agreements that are associated with a future benefit to these customers. In 2016, we reached an agreement with a customer to increase installed capacity for a program we support. We received $5.0 million in 2017 and $20.0 million in 2016 related to this agreement.

Accounts payable As a result of our acquisitions in 2017, we settled accounts payable balances with USM Mexico and MPG totaling approximately $35 million, which was reflected as a reduction of cash flow from operating activities in our Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows for 2017. See Note 3 - Business Combinations for further detail.

We experienced a decrease in our year-end 2016 accounts payable balance, as compared to our year-end 2015 accounts payable balance, which was primarily due to a reduction in inventory levels and the timing of payments made to suppliers.

Income taxes Based on the status of audits, and the protocol of finalizing audits by the relevant tax authorities, it is not possible to estimate the timing or impact of changes, if any, to previously recorded uncertain tax positions. As of December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, we have recorded a liability for unrecognized income tax benefits and related interest and penalties of $55.2 million and $30.7 million, respectively. In January 2016, we completed negotiations with the Mexican tax authorities to settle 2007 through 2009 transfer pricing audits. We made a payment of $22.9 million in January 2016 that fully satisfied our obligations for transfer pricing issues for tax years 2007 through 2013. Including these settlements, we made payments of approximately $28 million in 2016 to the Mexican tax authorities related to transfer pricing matters.

Although it is difficult to estimate with certainty the amount of our tax liabilities for the years that remain subject to audit, we do not expect the settlements will be materially different from what we have recorded in unrecognized tax benefits. We will continue to monitor the progress and conclusions of current and future audits and will adjust our estimated liability as necessary.

Inventories We experienced a decrease in inventory at December 31, 2016, as compared to December 31, 2015, primarily resulting from the impact of inventory reduction initiatives, as well as the reduction of inventory at certain facilities as a result of expiring programs.

INVESTING ACTIVITIES On March 1, 2017, we completed our acquisition of 100% of USM Mexico and on April 6, 2017, we completed our acquisition of 100% of the equity interests of Metaldyne Performance Group, Inc. (MPG). We acquired USM Mexico for a purchase price of $144.1 million, net of cash acquired, which was funded with available cash. The purchase price for MPG was approximately $1.5 billion, which included a cash portion of approximately $750 million, net of cash acquired. Under the terms of the MPG Merger Agreement, each share of MPG's common stock was converted into the right to receive $13.50 per share in cash and 0.5 of a share of AAM common stock.

Capital expenditures were $477.7 million in 2017, $223.0 million in 2016 and $193.5 million in 2015. Our capital spending primarily supported our significant global program launches within our new and incremental business backlog.

We expect our capital spending in 2018 to be in the range of 8% of sales, which includes support for our global program launches in 2018 and 2019 within our new and incremental business backlog, as well as program capacity increases and future launches of replacement programs.

During 2017, we executed early buyout options to purchase certain leased equipment in the amount of $13.3 million as compared to $4.6 million in 2016.

We received proceeds of $2.8 million and $5.1 million in 2016 and 2015, respectively, related to a European Union government incentive for capital expenditures related to new technology.

FINANCING ACTIVITIES Net cash provided by financing activities was $615.6 million in 2017, compared to net cash provided by financing activities of $18.4 million in 2016, and net cash used in financing activities of $143.6 million in 2015. Total debt outstanding, net of debt issuance costs, was $3,975.2 million at year-end 2017, $1,404.2

31




million at year-end 2016 and $1,379.0 million at year-end 2015. The increase in total debt outstanding, net of issuance costs, at year-end 2017, as compared to year-end 2016 was primarily due to new borrowings as part of our acquisition of MPG, as well as other factors noted below.

New Senior Secured Credit Facilities In connection with our acquisition of MPG (the Acquisition) on April 6, 2017, Holdings and American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. (AAM, Inc.) entered into a credit agreement (the Credit Agreement), among AAM, Inc., as borrower, Holdings, each financial institution party thereto as a lender (the Lenders) and administrative agent, pursuant to which Holdings and certain of its restricted subsidiaries (including certain subsidiaries of MPG acquired as part of the Acquisition) are required to guarantee the borrowings of AAM, Inc. thereunder and Holdings, AAM, Inc. and certain of their restricted subsidiaries are required to pledge their assets (including, without limitation, after-acquired assets), subject to certain exceptions and limitations. In connection with the Credit Agreement, Holdings, AAM, Inc. and certain of their restricted subsidiaries entered into a Collateral Agreement and Guarantee Agreement with the financial institutions party thereto as collateral agent and administrative agent.

Pursuant to the Credit Agreement, the Lenders agreed to provide a $100.0 million term loan A facility (the Term Loan A Facility), a $1.55 billion term loan B facility (the Term Loan B Facility) and a $900 million multi-currency revolving credit facility (the Revolving Credit Facility, and together with the Term Loan A Facility and the Term Loan B Facility, the New Senior Secured Credit Facilities). The proceeds of the Term Loan A Facility and the Term Loan B Facility were used to finance a portion of the consideration for the Acquisition, pay transaction costs, redeem in full MPG Holdco I Inc.’s 7.375% Senior Notes due 2022, and repay the existing indebtedness of AAM, Inc. under its Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, dated as of January 9, 2004, amended and restated as of September 13, 2013 and as further amended, among AAM, Inc., as borrower, Holdings, and each financial institution party thereto as a lender and administrative agent, as well as repay existing indebtedness of MPG under its Credit Agreement, dated as of October 20, 2014 and as amended as of May 8, 2015, among MPG Holdco I Inc., as guarantor, MPG, the subsidiary guarantors party thereto, and each financial institution party thereto as a lender and administrative agent. The proceeds of the Revolving Credit Facility will be used for general corporate purposes. We incurred debt issuance costs of $54 million in 2017 related to the New Senior Secured Credit Facilities.

The Term Loan A Facility and the Revolving Credit Facility will mature on April 6, 2022, and the Term Loan B Facility will mature on April 6, 2024. Borrowings under the New Senior Secured Credit Facilities bear interest at rates based on the applicable Eurodollar rate or alternate base rate, as AAM may elect, in each case plus an applicable margin determined based on AAM’s total net leverage ratio. The alternate base rate is the greatest of (a) the prime rate of a major United States financial institution, (b) the Federal Reserve Bank of New York rate plus 0.50% and (c) the adjusted Eurodollar rate plus 1.00%. The applicable margin for Eurodollar-based loans under the New Senior Secured Credit Facilities will be between 1.25% and 2.25% with respect to any loan under the Term Loan A Facility, 2.25% with respect to any loan under the Term Loan B Facility, and between 2.00% and 3.00% with respect to any loan under the Revolving Credit Facility. The applicable margin for loans subject to alternate base rate will be between 0.25% and 1.25% with respect to any loan under the Term Loan A Facility, 1.25% with respect to any loan under the Term Loan B Facility, and between 1.00% and 2.00% with respect to any loan under the Revolving Credit Facility.

The Credit Agreement requires certain mandatory prepayments of outstanding loans under the Term Loan A Facility and the Term Loan B Facility, subject to certain exceptions, based on a percentage of the annual excess cash flow of Holdings and its restricted subsidiaries (with step-downs to 0% based upon the total net leverage ratio, and with no prepayment required if annual excess cash flow is under a specified minimum threshold), the net cash proceeds of certain asset sales and casualty and condemnation events, subject to reinvestment rights and certain other exceptions, and the net cash proceeds of any issuance of debt not otherwise permitted under the Credit Agreement.

The Credit Agreement permits AAM, Inc. to incur incremental term loan borrowings and/or increase commitments under the Revolving Credit Facility, subject to certain limitations and the satisfaction of certain conditions, in an aggregate amount not to exceed (i) $600 million, plus (ii) certain voluntary prepayments, plus (iii) additional amounts subject to pro forma compliance with a first lien net leverage ratio for Holdings and its restricted subsidiaries.

The Credit Agreement contains customary affirmative and negative covenants, including, among others, financial covenants based on total net leverage and cash interest expense coverage ratios and limitations on the ability of Holdings, AAM, Inc. or their restricted subsidiaries to make certain investments, declare or pay dividends

32




or distributions on capital stock, redeem or repurchase capital stock and certain debt obligations, incur liens, incur indebtedness, or merge, make certain acquisitions or certain sales of assets. The Credit Agreement includes customary events of default, the occurrence of which would permit the lenders to, among other things, declare the principal, accrued interest and other obligations to be immediately due and payable. Upon such default, the lenders may also seek customary remedies with respect to the collateral under the Collateral Agreement.

As of December 31, 2017, we have prepaid $5.0 million of the outstanding principal on our Term Loan A Facility and $15.5 million of the outstanding principal on our Term Loan B Facility. These payments satisfy our obligation for principal payments under the Term Loan A Facility and Term Loan B Facility for the next four quarters. As a result, there are no amounts related to the Term Loan A Facility or Term Loan B Facility in the Current portion of long-term debt line item in our Consolidated Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2017.

At December 31, 2017, we had $866.2 million available under the Revolving Credit Facility. This availability reflects a reduction of $33.8 million for standby letters of credit issued against the facility.

The New Senior Secured Credit Facilities provide back-up liquidity for our foreign credit facilities.  We intend to use the availability of long-term financing under the New Senior Secured Credit Facilities to refinance any current maturities related to such debt agreements that are not otherwise refinanced on a long-term basis in their local markets, except where otherwise reclassified to current portion of long-term debt on our Consolidated Balance Sheet.

6.25% Notes due 2025 and 6.50% Notes due 2027 On March 23, 2017, we issued $700.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.25% senior notes due 2025 (6.25% Notes due 2025) and $500.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.50% senior notes due 2027 (6.50% Notes). Proceeds from the Notes were used primarily to fund the cash consideration related to our acquisition of MPG, related fees and expenses, refinance certain existing indebtedness of MPG and borrowings under our previous revolving credit facility, which has been replaced by our new Revolving Credit Facility, together with borrowings under the New Senior Secured Credit Facilities. We incurred debt issuance costs of $37.2 million in 2017 related to the 6.25% Notes due 2025 and 6.50% Notes.

5.125% Notes due 2019 In 2013, we issued $200.0 million of 5.125% senior unsecured notes due 2019 (5.125% Notes). Pursuant to the terms of our 5.125% Notes, in the fourth quarter of 2017, we voluntarily redeemed the full amount of the 5.125% Notes. We expensed $0.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 for the write-off of the remaining unamortized debt issuance costs that we had been amortizing over the expected life of the borrowing.

Foreign credit facilities We utilize local currency credit facilities to finance the operations of certain foreign subsidiaries.  At December 31, 2017, $53.2 million was outstanding under our foreign credit facilities and an additional $159.7 million was available. We increased our foreign credit capacity in 2017 to support our global operations, primarily in Mexico and China. At December 31, 2016, $60.4 million was outstanding under our foreign credit facilities and an additional $62.0 million was available.

Repayment of MPG Indebtedness Upon our acquisition of MPG, we assumed approximately $1.9 billion of existing MPG indebtedness, which we repaid in its entirety on the date of acquisition. This indebtedness was comprised of approximately $0.2 billion of a Euro denominated term loan, approximately $1.0 billion of a U.S. dollar denominated term loan and approximately $0.7 billion of outstanding MPG bonds. Upon settlement of the debt, we paid approximately $24.6 million of accrued interest. In addition, we also incurred and paid approximately $2.7 million of fees, which have been presented in the Debt refinancing and redemption costs line item within our Consolidated Statement of Income for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Treasury stock Treasury stock increased by $7.0 million in 2017 to $198.1 million as compared to $191.1 million at year-end 2016, due to the withholding and repurchase of shares of AAM stock to satisfy employee tax withholding obligations as part of the merger consideration paid for our acquisition of MPG, as well as tax withholding obligations due upon the vesting of performance shares and restricted stock units.

Credit ratings To access public debt capital markets, the Company relies on credit rating agencies to assign short-term and long-term credit ratings to our securities as an indicator of credit quality for fixed income investors. A credit rating agency may change or withdraw its ratings based on its assessment of our current and future ability to meet interest and principal repayment obligations. Credit ratings affect our cost of borrowing under our revolving

33




credit facility and may affect our access to debt capital markets and other costs to fund our business. The credit ratings and outlook currently assigned to our securities by the rating agencies are as follows:

 
Corporate Family Rating
Senior Unsecured Notes Rating
Senior Secured Notes Rating
Outlook
Standard & Poor's
BB-
B
BB
Stable
Moody's Investors Services
B1
B2
Ba2
Stable
Fitch Ratings
BB-
BB-
BB+
Stable

Dividend program We have not declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock in 2017, 2016 or 2015.

Off-balance sheet arrangements Our off-balance sheet financing relates principally to operating leases for machinery and equipment, commercial office and production facilities, vehicles and other assets with various expiration dates.

Contractual obligations The following table summarizes payments due on our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2017:
 
Payments due by period
 
Total
 
  <1yr
 
     1-3 yrs
 
    3-5 yrs
 
    >5 yrs
 
(in millions)
Current and long-term debt
$
4,022.5

 
$
50.5

 
$
252.4

 
$
1,054.8

 
$
2,664.8

Interest obligations
1,125.7

 
225.5

 
428.0

 
352.7

 
119.5

Capital lease obligations
28.3

 
1.7

 
1.6

 
1.9

 
23.1

Operating leases (1)
115.9

 
26.3

 
38.2

 
22.0

 
29.4

Purchase obligations (2)
356.4

 
320.8

 
35.6

 

 

Other long-term liabilities (3)
679.8

 
65.6

 
156.2

 
132.0

 
326.0

Total
$
6,328.6

 
$
690.4

 
$
912.0

 
$
1,563.4

 
$
3,162.8


(1)
Operating leases include all lease payments through the end of the contractual lease terms, which includes elections for repurchase options. These commitments include machinery and equipment, commercial office and production facilities, vehicles and other assets.

(2)
Purchase obligations represent our obligated purchase commitments for capital expenditures and related project expense.

(3)
Other long-term liabilities primarily represent our estimated pension and other postretirement benefit obligations, net of GM cost sharing, that were actuarially determined through 2026, as well as our unrecognized income tax benefits.


34




CYCLICALITY AND SEASONALITY

Our operations are cyclical because they are directly related to worldwide automotive production, which is itself cyclical and dependent on general economic conditions and other factors. Our business is moderately seasonal as our major OEM customers historically have an extended shutdown of operations (typically 1-2 weeks) in conjunction with their model year changeover and an approximate one-week shutdown in December. Our major OEM customers also occasionally have longer shutdowns of operations (up to 6 weeks) for program changeovers. Accordingly, our quarterly results may reflect these trends.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are involved in various legal proceedings incidental to our business. Although the outcome of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty, we do not believe that any of these matters, individually or in the aggregate, will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

We are subject to various federal, state, local and foreign environmental and occupational safety and health laws, regulations and ordinances, including those regulating air emissions, water discharge, waste management and environmental cleanup. We closely monitor our environmental conditions to ensure that we are in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and ordinances. We have made, and anticipate continuing to make, capital and other expenditures, including recurring administrative costs, to comply with environmental requirements. Such expenditures were not significant in 2017, 2016 and 2015.

On April 6, 2017, we completed our acquisition of MPG. A subsidiary of MPG, Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC (Grede Wisconsin), had been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency for alleged Clean Air Act violations and alleged obstruction of justice relating to the January 2012 removal of debris from the roof of a heat treat oven that was purported to contain asbestos at a now closed Grede facility in Berlin, Wisconsin. The United States Attorney, Eastern District of Wisconsin, indicted Grede LLC and Grede II LLC, the parent company of Grede Wisconsin. During the fourth quarter of 2017, we settled this matter for approximately $0.5 million.

EFFECT OF NEW ACCOUNTING STANDARDS

Accounting Standards Update 2017-12

On August 28, 2017, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2017-12 - Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities (Topic 815). ASU 2017-12 is intended to better align the risk management activities of a company with the company's financial reporting for hedging relationships. This guidance expands and refines several aspects of hedge accounting. The most applicable changes to AAM as a result of the new guidance are as follows: 1) the concept of risk component hedging is introduced in ASU 2017-12, which could allow us to hedge contractually specified components in a contract; 2) the guidance now allows entities to utilize a 31-day period in assessing whether the critical terms of a forecasted transaction match the maturity of the hedging derivative, which could allow for expanded use of hedging instruments for certain sales and purchases; and 3) we may now qualitatively assess hedge effectiveness on a quarterly basis when the facts and circumstances related to the hedging relationship have not changed significantly. This guidance becomes effective at the beginning of our 2019 fiscal year, however early adoption is permitted, and we have adopted this guidance effective January 1, 2018. The adoption of this guidance will not have any impact on the measurement or presentation of our existing hedging relationships.

Accounting Standards Update 2017-07

On March 10, 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-07 - Compensation - Retirement Benefits (Topic 715): Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost. The amendments in this update require that an employer disaggregate the service cost component from the other components of defined benefit pension cost and postretirement benefit cost (net benefit cost). Subsequent to the adoption of this guidance, only the service cost component of net benefit cost will be included in the subtotal operating income in our Consolidated Statements of Income and only the service cost component will be eligible for capitalization. This guidance became effective at the beginning of our 2018 fiscal year and requires a retrospective transition method for the income statement classification of the net benefit cost components and a prospective

35




transition method for the capitalization of the service cost component in assets. The adoption of this guidance is not expected to have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.

Accounting Standards Update 2017-04

On January 26, 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-04 - Intangibles - Goodwill and Other (Topic 350): Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment. The amendments in this update modify the concept of impairment from the condition that exists when the carrying amount of goodwill exceeds its implied fair value to the condition that exists when the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value. An entity no longer will determine goodwill impairment by calculating the implied fair value of goodwill by assigning the fair value of a reporting unit to all of its assets and liabilities as if that reporting unit had been acquired in a business combination, or what is referred to under existing guidance as "Step 2." Instead, under the amendments in this update, an entity should perform its annual, or interim, goodwill impairment test by comparing the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount. An entity should recognize an impairment charge for the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value; however, the loss recognized should not exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit. Additionally, an entity should consider income tax effects from any tax deductible goodwill on the carrying amount of the reporting unit when measuring the goodwill impairment loss, if applicable. This guidance becomes effective at the beginning of our 2020 fiscal year and early adoption is permitted. The guidance requires a prospective transition method. We do not expect the adoption of this guidance to have a material effect on our consolidated financial statements, however, goodwill could be more susceptible to impairment in periods subsequent to adoption.

Accounting Standards Update 2016-16

On October 24, 2016, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-16 - Income Taxes (Topic 740): Intra-Entity Transfers of Assets Other Than Inventory. Existing income tax guidance prohibits the recognition of current and deferred income taxes for an intra-entity asset transfer until the asset has been sold to an outside party. This existing guidance is deemed an exception to the principle of comprehensive recognition of current and deferred income taxes under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP). Due to the limited authoritative guidance about this exception, diversity in practice exists. ASU 2016-16 eliminates this exception for intra-entity transfers of assets other than inventory and requires that entities recognize the income tax consequences when the transfers occur. This guidance was effective January 1, 2018 and requires a modified retrospective transition method. The adoption of this guidance did not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements.

Accounting Standards Update 2016-02

On February 25, 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02 - Leases (Topic 842), and has subsequently issued ASU 2017-13 - Revenue Recognition (Topic 605), Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), Leases (Topic 840) and Leases (Topic 842) (collectively the Lease ASUs) which supersede the existing lease accounting guidance and establish new criteria for recognizing lease assets and liabilities. The most significant impact of the updates, to AAM, is that a lessee will be required to recognize a "right-of-use" asset and lease liability for operating lease agreements that were not previously included on the balance sheet under the existing lease guidance. A lessee will be permitted to make a policy election, excluding recognition of the right-of-use asset and associated liability for lease terms of 12 months or less. Expense recognition in the statement of income along with cash flow statement classification for both financing (capital) and operating leases under the new standard will not be significantly changed from existing lease guidance. This guidance becomes effective for AAM at the beginning of our 2019 fiscal year and requires transition under a modified retrospective method. We are currently assessing the impact that this standard will have on our consolidated financial statements.

Accounting Standards Update 2014-09

In 2014, the FASB issued ASU 2014-09 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), and has subsequently issued ASUs 2015-14 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Deferral of the Effective Date, 2016-08 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Principal versus Agent Considerations (Reporting Revenue Gross Versus Net), 2016-10 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Identifying Performance Obligations and Licensing, 2016-12 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Narrow-Scope Improvements and Practical Expedients, 2016-20 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Technical Corrections and Improvements to Topic 606 and 2017-13 - Revenue Recognition (Topic 605), Revenue

36




from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), Leases (Topic 840) and Leases (Topic 842) (collectively, the Revenue Recognition ASUs).

The Revenue Recognition ASUs outline a single comprehensive model for entities to use in accounting for revenue arising from contracts with customers and supersede most current revenue recognition guidance, including industry-specific guidance. The guidance is based on the principle that an entity should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. The guidance also requires additional disclosure about the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from customer contracts, including significant judgments and changes in judgments and assets recognized from costs incurred to fulfill a contract. This guidance became effective for AAM on January 1, 2018 and we have adopted this guidance using the modified retrospective approach.

We have evaluated each of the five steps in the new revenue recognition model, which are as follows: 1) Identify the contract with the customer; 2) Identify the performance obligations in the contract; 3) Determine the transaction price; 4) Allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations; and 5) Recognize revenue when (or as) performance obligations are satisfied. We do not expect the impact of implementing the Revenue Recognition ASUs to be material to our financial statements, nor do we expect our method and timing for recognizing revenue subsequent to the implementation of the Revenue Recognition ASUs to vary significantly from our revenue recognition practices under current GAAP.

There are also certain considerations related to internal control over financial reporting that are associated with implementing the new guidance under Topic 606 and we have designed and implemented the necessary changes to our control framework for the new guidance. Specifically, disclosure requirements under the new guidance in Topic 606 have been significantly expanded in comparison to the disclosure requirements under the current guidance. We have completed our assessment of the new disclosure requirements and are completing the process of drafting our disclosures for both interim and annual periods under Topic 606.
  
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES

In order to prepare consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP, we are required to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts and disclosures in our consolidated financial statements. These estimates are subject to an inherent degree of uncertainty and actual results could differ from our estimates.
 
Other items in our consolidated financial statements require estimation. In our judgment, they are not as critical as those disclosed below. We have discussed and reviewed our critical accounting estimates disclosure with the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors.

ACCOUNTING FOR ACQUISITIONS On March 1, 2017, we completed our acquisition of 100% of USM Mexico and on April 6, 2017, AAM completed our acquisition of 100% of the equity interests of MPG. Upon successful consummation of these acquisitions, we were subject to the accounting guidance as prescribed by ASC 805 - Business Combinations. We were required to allocate the purchase price of the acquired businesses to the identifiable assets and liabilities based on fair value. The excess purchase price over the fair value of identifiable assets and liabilities was recorded as goodwill. Determining the fair values of assets acquired and liabilities assumed, especially with regard to intangible assets, requires significant levels of estimates and assumptions made by management. In order to assist management, we utilized third party valuation experts in determining the fair values.

PENSION AND OTHER POSTRETIREMENT BENEFITS In calculating our assets, liabilities and expenses related to pension and OPEB, key assumptions include the discount rate, expected long-term rates of return on plan assets, mortality projections and rates of increase in health care costs.

The discount rates used in the valuation of our U.S. pension and OPEB obligations were based on an actuarial review of a hypothetical portfolio of long-term, high quality corporate bonds matched against the expected payment stream for each of our plans. In 2017, the weighted-average discount rates determined on that basis were 3.65% for both the valuation of our pension benefit obligations and our OPEB obligations. The discount rate used in the valuation of our United Kingdom (U.K.) pension obligations were based on hypothetical yield curves developed from corporate bond yield information within each regional market. In 2017, the weighted-average discount rates

37




determined on that basis were 2.75% for our U.K. plans. The expected weighted-average long-term rates of return on our plan assets were 7.45% for our U.S. plans, and 5.10% for our U.K. plans in 2017. We developed these rates of return assumptions based on future capital market expectations for the asset classes represented within our portfolio and a review of long-term historical returns. The asset allocation for our plans was developed in consideration of the demographics of the plan participants and expected payment stream of the liability. Our investment policy allocates approximately 30-65% of the U.S. plans' assets to equity securities, depending on the plan, with the remainder invested in fixed income securities, hedge fund investments and cash. The rates of increase in health care costs are based on current market conditions, inflationary expectations and historical information.

All of our assumptions were developed in consultation with our actuarial service providers. While we believe that we have selected reasonable assumptions for the valuation of our pension and OPEB obligations at year-end 2017, actual trends could result in materially different valuations.

The effect on our pension plans of a 0.5% decrease in both the discount rate and expected return on assets is shown below as of December 31, 2017, our valuation date.

 
 
 
Expected
 
Discount
 
Return on
 
Rate
 
Assets
 
(in millions)
Decline in funded status
$
59.0

 
N/A

Increase in 2017 expense
$
1.1

 
$
3.1


No changes in benefit levels or in the amortization of gains or losses have been assumed.

For 2018, we assumed a weighted-average annual increase in the per-capita cost of covered health care benefits of 7.00% for OPEB. The rate is assumed to decrease gradually to 5.0% by 2026 and remain at that level thereafter. A 0.5% decrease in the discount rate for our OPEB would have decreased total expense in 2017 and increased the postretirement obligation, net of GM cost sharing, at December 31, 2017 by $0.6 million and $22.5 million, respectively. A 1.0% increase in the assumed health care trend rate would have increased total service and interest cost in 2017 and the postretirement obligation, net of GM cost sharing, at December 31, 2017 by $1.4 million and $38.2 million, respectively.

AAM and GM share in the cost of OPEB for eligible retirees proportionally based on the length of service an employee had with AAM and GM. We estimate the future cost sharing payments and present it as an asset on our Consolidated Balance Sheet. As of December 31, 2017, we estimated $265.5 million in future GM cost sharing. If, in the future, GM were unable to fulfill this financial obligation, our OPEB obligations could be different than our current estimates.

PRODUCT WARRANTY We record a liability and related charge to cost of goods sold for estimated warranty obligations at the dates our products are sold or when specific warranty issues are identified. Product warranties not expected to be paid within one year are recorded as a noncurrent liability on our Consolidated Balance Sheet. Our estimated warranty obligations for products sold are based on significant management estimates, with input from our warranty, sales, engineering, quality and legal departments. For products and customers with actual warranty payment experience, we estimate warranty costs principally based on past claims history. For certain products and customers, actual warranty payment experience does not exist or is not mature. In these cases, we estimate our costs based on the contractual arrangements with our customers, existing customers' warranty program terms and internal and external warranty data, which includes a determination of our responsibility for potential warranty issues or claims and estimates of repair costs. We actively study trends of our warranty claims and take action to improve product quality and minimize warranty claims. We continuously evaluate these estimates and our customers' administration of their warranty programs. We closely monitor actual warranty claim data and adjust the liability, as necessary, on a quarterly basis.

In addition to our ordinary warranty provisions with our customers, we may be responsible for certain costs associated with product recalls and field actions, which are recorded at the time our obligation is probable and can be reasonably estimated.

38





Our warranty accrual was $49.5 million as of December 31, 2017 and $42.9 million as of December 31, 2016. During 2017 and 2016, we made adjustments to our warranty accrual to reflect revised estimates regarding our projected future warranty obligations. Actual experience could differ from the amounts estimated requiring adjustments to these liabilities in future periods. It is possible that changes in our assumptions or future warranty issues could materially affect our financial position and results of operations.

VALUATION OF DEFERRED TAX ASSETS AND OTHER TAX LIABILITIES Because we operate in many different geographic locations, including several foreign, state and local tax jurisdictions, the evaluation of our ability to use all recognized deferred tax assets is complex.

We are required to estimate whether recoverability of our deferred tax assets is "more likely than not," based on forecasts of taxable income in the related tax jurisdictions. In these estimates, we use historical results, projected future operating results based upon approved business plans, eligible carryforward periods, tax planning opportunities and other relevant considerations. This includes the consideration of tax law changes, prior profitability performance and the uncertainty of future projected profitability.

As of December 31, 2017, we have a valuation allowance of approximately $180.4 million related to net deferred tax assets in several foreign jurisdictions and U.S. state and local jurisdictions. As of December 31, 2016 and 2015, our valuation allowance was $164.8 million and $167.3 million, respectively.
If, in the future, we generate taxable income on a sustained basis in foreign and U.S. state jurisdictions for which we have recorded valuation allowances, our current estimate of the recoverability of our deferred tax assets could change and result in the future reversal of some or all of the valuation allowance. While we believe we have made appropriate valuations of our deferred tax assets, unforeseen changes in tax legislation, regulatory activities, audit results, operating results, financing strategies, organization structure and other related matters may result in material changes in our deferred tax asset valuation allowances or our tax liabilities.
We record uncertain tax positions on the basis of a two-step process whereby: (1) we determine whether it is "more likely than not" that the tax positions will be sustained based on the technical merits of the position: and (2) for those positions that meet the "more likely than not" recognition threshold, we recognize the largest amount of tax benefit that is greater than 50% likely to be realized upon ultimate settlement with the related tax authority. We record interest and penalties on uncertain tax positions in income tax expense (benefit).

As of December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, we had a liability for unrecognized income tax benefits and related interest and penalties of $55.2 million, $30.7 million and $48.5 million, respectively. In January 2016, we completed negotiations with the Mexican tax authorities to settle 2007 through 2009 transfer pricing audits. We made a payment of $22.9 million in January 2016 that fully satisfied our obligations for transfer pricing issues for tax years 2007 through 2013. Including these settlements, we made payments of $28 million in 2016 to the Mexican tax authorities related to transfer pricing matters. Based on the status of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits and audits outside the U.S., and the protocol of finalizing audits by the relevant tax authorities, it is not possible to estimate the impact of changes, if any, to previously recorded uncertain tax positions. Although it is difficult to estimate with certainty the amount of an audit settlement, we do not expect the settlement amounts will be materially different from what we have recorded. We will continue to monitor the progress and conclusions of all ongoing audits and will adjust our estimated liability as necessary.

GOODWILL We record goodwill when the purchase price of acquired businesses exceeds the value of their identifiable net tangible and intangible assets acquired. We periodically evaluate goodwill for impairment in accordance with the accounting guidance for goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangibles that are not amortized. We review our goodwill for impairment annually during the fourth quarter. In addition, we review goodwill for impairment whenever adverse events or changes in circumstances indicate a possible impairment.

This review utilizes a two-step impairment test which is performed at the reporting unit level. The first step involves a comparison of the fair value of the reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill.  If the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount, goodwill of the reporting unit is not considered impaired and thus the second step of the impairment test is unnecessary. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value, the second step of the process involves a measurement and comparison of the fair value of goodwill with its carrying amount. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit's goodwill exceeds the fair value of that goodwill, an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to the excess.  

39





Subsequent to our acquisition of MPG, our business was organized into four business units: Driveline, Metal Forming, Powertrain, and Casting. Under the goodwill guidance, we determined that each of our business units represents a reporting unit. The determination of our reporting units and impairment indicators require us to make significant judgments. We utilize a third-party valuation specialist to assist management in determining the fair value of our reporting units for purposes of testing recoverability. We performed our annual impairment test in the fourth quarter and determined there was no impairment to goodwill in 2017 for any of our four reporting units.

IMPAIRMENT OF LONG-LIVED ASSETS Long-lived assets, excluding goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets, to be held and used are reviewed for impairment whenever adverse events or changes in circumstances indicate a possible impairment. Recoverability of each “held for use” asset group affected by impairment indicators is determined by comparing the forecasted undiscounted cash flows of the operations to which the assets relate to their carrying amount.  If the carrying amount of an asset group exceeds the undiscounted cash flows and is therefore nonrecoverable, the assets in this group are written down to their estimated fair value.  We estimate fair value based on market prices, when available, or on a discounted cash flow analysis.  Long-lived assets held for sale are recorded at the lower of their carrying amount or fair value less cost to sell. Significant judgments and estimates used by management when evaluating long-lived assets for impairment include:
 
An assessment as to whether an adverse event or circumstance has triggered the need for an impairment review;  
Determination of asset groups, the primary asset within each group, and the primary asset's average estimated useful life;
Undiscounted future cash flows generated by the assets; and
Determination of fair value when an impairment is deemed to exist, which may require assumptions related to future general economic conditions, future expected production volumes, product pricing and cost estimates, working capital and capital investment requirements, discount rates and estimated liquidation values.


40




Forward-Looking Statements

In this MD&A and elsewhere in this Form 10-K (Annual Report), we make statements concerning our expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, goals, strategies, and future events or performance. Such statements are “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and relate to trends and events that may affect our future financial position and operating results. The terms such as “will,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “plan,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “project,” "target," and similar words or expressions, as well as statements in future tense, are intended to identify forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time those statements are made and/or management’s good faith belief as of that time with respect to future events and are subject to risks and may differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to:

reduced purchases of our products by General Motors Company (GM), FCA US LLC (FCA), or other customers;
reduced demand for our customers' products (particularly light trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) produced by GM and FCA);
our ability to respond to changes in technology, increased competition or pricing pressures;
our ability to develop and produce new products that reflect market demand;
lower-than-anticipated market acceptance of new or existing products;
our ability to attract new customers and programs for new products;
risks inherent in our global operations (including adverse changes in trade agreements, such as NAFTA, tariffs, immigration policies, political stability, taxes and other law changes, potential disruptions of production and supply, and currency rate fluctuations);
a significant disruption in operations at one or more of our key manufacturing facilities;
global economic conditions;
our ability to successfully integrate the business and information systems of Metaldyne Performance Group, Inc. (MPG) and to realize the anticipated benefits of the merger;
risks related to disruptions to ongoing business operations as a result of the merger with MPG, including disruptions to management time;
risks related to a failure of our information technology systems and networks, and risks associated with current and emerging technology threats and damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, cyber attack and other similar disruptions;
negative or unexpected tax consequences;
liabilities arising from warranty claims, product recall or field actions, product liability and legal proceedings to which we are or may become a party, or the impact of product recall or field actions on our customers;
our ability to achieve the level of cost reductions required to sustain global cost competitiveness;
supply shortages or price increases in raw materials, utilities or other operating supplies for us or our customers as a result of natural disasters or otherwise;
our ability or our customers' and suppliers' ability to successfully launch new product programs on a timely basis;
our ability to realize the expected revenues from our new and incremental business backlog;
our ability to maintain satisfactory labor relations and avoid work stoppages;
our suppliers', our customers' and their suppliers' ability to maintain satisfactory labor relations and avoid work stoppages;
price volatility in, or reduced availability of, fuel;
potential liabilities or litigation relating to, or assumed in, the MPG merger;
potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationships resulting from the completion of the merger with MPG;
our ability to protect our intellectual property and successfully defend against assertions made against us;
our ability to attract and retain key associates;
availability of financing for working capital, capital expenditures, research and development (R&D) or other general corporate purposes including acquisitions, as well as our ability to comply with financial covenants;
our customers' and suppliers' availability of financing for working capital, capital expenditures, R&D or other general corporate purposes;
changes in liabilities arising from pension and other postretirement benefit obligations;
risks of noncompliance with environmental laws and regulations or risks of environmental issues that could result in unforeseen costs at our facilities or reputational damage;
adverse changes in laws, government regulations or market conditions affecting our products or our customers' products;
our ability or our customers' and suppliers' ability to comply with regulatory requirements and the potential costs of such compliance; and
other unanticipated events and conditions that may hinder our ability to compete.

It is not possible to foresee or identify all such factors and we make no commitment to update any forward-looking statement or to disclose any facts, events or circumstances after the date hereof that may affect the accuracy of any forward-looking statement.


41




Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

MARKET RISK

Our business and financial results are affected by fluctuations in world financial markets, including currency exchange rates and interest rates. Our hedging policy has been developed to manage these risks to an acceptable level based on management's judgment of the appropriate trade-off between risk, opportunity and cost. We do not hold financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE RISK From time to time, we use foreign currency forward and option contracts to reduce the effects of fluctuations in exchange rates relating to the Mexican Peso, Euro, Brazilian Real, British Pound Sterling, Thai Baht, Swedish Krona, Chinese Yuan, Polish Zloty and Indian Rupee. At December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, we had currency forward and option contracts with a notional amount of $162.2 million and $156.0 million outstanding, respectively.  The potential decrease in fair value of foreign exchange contracts, assuming a 10% adverse change in the foreign currency exchange rates, would be approximately $14.7 million at December 31, 2017 and was approximately $14.2 million at December 31, 2016.

Future business operations and opportunities, including the expansion of our business outside North America, may further increase the risk that cash flows resulting from these global operations may be adversely affected by changes in currency exchange rates. If and when appropriate, we intend to manage these risks by creating natural hedges in the structure of our global operations, utilizing local currency funding of these expansions and various types of foreign exchange contracts.

INTEREST RATE RISK We are exposed to variable interest rates on certain credit facilities. From time to time, we have used interest rate hedging to reduce the effects of fluctuations in market interest rates. During 2017, we entered into a variable-to-fixed interest rate swap to reduce the variability of cash flow associated with interest payments on our variable rate debt. We have the following notional amounts hedged in relation to our variable-to-fixed interest rate swap: $750.0 million through May 2018, $600.0 million through May 2019, $450.0 million through May 2020 and $200.0 million through May 2021.

The pre-tax earnings and cash flow impact of a one-percentage-point increase in interest rates (approximately 18% of our weighted-average interest rate at December 31, 2017) on our long-term debt outstanding at December 31, 2017 would be approximately $9.2 million and was approximately $0.6 million at December 31, 2016, on an annualized basis.




42



AMERICAN AXLE & MANUFACTURING HOLDINGS, INC.

Item 8.
Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

Consolidated Statements of Income
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(in millions, except per share data)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net sales
$
6,266.0

 
$
3,948.0

 
$
3,903.1



 
 
 
 
Cost of goods sold
5,146.9

 
3,221.9

 
3,267.7



 
 
 
 
Gross profit
1,119.1

 
726.1

 
635.4



 
 
 
 
Selling, general and administrative expenses
390.1

 
314.2

 
274.1


 
 
 
 
 
Amortization of intangible assets
75.3

 
5.0

 
3.2


 
 
 
 
 
Restructuring and acquisition-related costs
110.7

 
26.2

 



 
 
 
 
Operating income
543.0

 
380.7

 
358.1



 
 
 
 
Interest expense
(195.6
)
 
(93.4
)
 
(99.2
)


 
 
 
 
Investment income
2.9

 
2.9

 
2.6



 
 
 
 
Other income (expense)

 
 
 
 
Debt refinancing and redemption costs
(3.5
)
 

 
(0.8
)
Other, net
(6.8
)
 
8.8

 
12.0



 
 
 
 
Income before income taxes
340.0

 
299.0

 
272.7



 
 
 
 
Income tax expense
2.5

 
58.3

 
37.1



 
 
 
 
Net income
$
337.5

 
$
240.7

 
$
235.6


 
 
 
 
 
Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests
(0.4
)
 

 


 
 
 
 
 
Net income attributable to AAM
$
337.1

 
$
240.7

 
$
235.6


 
 
 
 
 
Basic earnings per share
$
3.22

 
$
3.08

 
$
3.03

 
 
 
 
 
 
Diluted earnings per share
$
3.21

 
$
3.06

 
$
3.02

 
 
 
 
 
 

See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements


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AMERICAN AXLE & MANUFACTURING HOLDINGS, INC.

Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income
Year Ended December 31,

 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(in millions)
Net income
$
337.5

 
$
240.7

 
$
235.6

 

 

 
 
Other comprehensive income (loss)

 

 
 
Defined benefit plans, net of $3.4 million, $4.7 million and $(8.5) million of tax in 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively
(8.5
)
 
(19.6
)
 
16.7

     Foreign currency translation adjustments