Engine component supplier and piston specialist, Mahle, is lowering its forecasts for the second half of this year and is planning to close four plants.

According to Automobilwoche, chairman Heinz Junker said the the US economy, and big increases in the price of steel and plastic raw materials, as well as the costs of integrating companies recently taken over, mean that the company has had to scale back its turnover projections for 2008.

Junker said that measures are already being taken to restructure the company. A decision has been made to close one plant in Canada and three in the USA, but these will not have a positive effect on the company's financial position until 2009/10. Until then the company will not make any acquisitions.

No precise figures were given but Junker said that turnover in the first half of the year was already down on a year ago. In 2007 Mahle reported a net profit of 223m euros and a pre-tax profit of 308m.