Hayes Lemmerz International reported an operating loss for the fiscal third quarter ended 31 October of $US27.6m, compared with a profit of $16.8m in the third quarter of 2005.

The company's net loss in the third quarter was $59.6m, compared to a net loss of $13.3m a year earlier.

The loss included a $39m asset impairment charge related to the company's suspension facilities in Bristol, Indiana and Montague, Michigan. Excluding the impairment charge, the supplier had earnings from operations of $11.4m and a net loss of $20.6m during the quarter on sales of $589.5m, down 2.4% from $604m a year earlier.

"Although our sales were down 2.4%, they reflect the company's move to a more diverse customer base when compared to the 15% declines in 'Big Three' production volumes in North America," said president, CEO and chairman Curtis Clawson.

Hayes-Lemmerz reduced its overall debt by approximately $24m in the third quarter.

It reported adjusted EBITDA for the quarter of $52.7m, a decline of $5.3m from a year earlier.

During the third quarter, Hayes Lemmerz sold its Southfield, Michigan suspension machining facility, which further reduced its dependence on the North American automotive market.

"We are continuing to execute our operating plan, focus our capital expenditures in high growth/low cost areas, maintain adequate liquidity and drive positive free cash flow," said Clawson. "Our customer and geographic mix continue to improve, and our restructuring efforts are on track, generating substantial savings."

So far this year, Hayes Lemmerz has won over $475m of new business, 80% of which is with international customers, including Asian OEMs Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan and Honda, and European OEMs Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Renault and Fiat. The company is continuing to diversify its product mix in North America, as the market shifts toward passenger cars and cross-over SUVs.

For the full year, Hayes Lemmerz expects to achieve sales of $2.2bn to $2.3 bn, improved adjusted EBITDA compared with 2005, and capital expenditures of $75-85m.

In the fourth quarter, the company expects to expand capacity at its aluminium wheel plants in the Czech Republic, Thailand and Turkey.