Eaton Corporation, a supplier of truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems, has posted a net loss per share of US$0.30 for the first quarter of 2009 versus net income of $1.64 a share in Q1 2008.

Sales were 20% lower at $2.8bn, reflecting the impact of the global recession, the company said. It booked a net loss of $50m.

Net income in both periods included charges for integration of acquisitions, Eaton noted. Before acquisition integration charges, the operating loss per share in the first quarter of 2009 was $0.22 versus operating earnings per share of $1.70 in 2008.

The Q1 operating loss was $36m compared to earnings of $256m in 2008.

The truck segment posted sales of $292m, down 49% compared to the first quarter of 2008. The segment reported an operating loss of $34m.

Eaton said truck production in the first quarter is forecast to have declined by 27%, with US markets down 32% and non-U.S. markets down 20%.

"While it is difficult to determine precisely, it appears that purchases of components by global truck OEMs and aftermarket channel partners declined even more severely than truck production, as significant destocking occurred throughout the channel," the supplier said.

The automotive segment posted first quarter sales of $270m, down 50% from the first quarter of 2008, and an operating loss of $46m. Excluding acquisition integration charges of $1m, the operating loss was $45m.

Global automotive markets were down 40%, with US markets down 51% and non-US markets down 35%.

"The world auto markets in the first quarter suffered their sharpest decline in decades," said Cutler. "For the year as a whole, we now anticipate global automotive markets will decline by 23%, with US production down 25% and non-U.S. production down 22%."