Truck and engine maker Navistar International has swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit after benefiting from fewer charges and an increase in truck sales in advance of new emissions standards in January.

Navistar described conditions in the truck market as the worst since the early 1960s and predicted that industry-wide retail sales of medium and heavy-duty trucks next year would remain at depressed levels, ranging from 175,000 to 215,000 trucks, Dow Jones Newswires said.

But Navistar said fourth quarter sales improved from earlier in the year as customers bought more trucks to avoid higher prices next year to cover cost of complying with stricter pollution standards on diesel exhaust. Manufacturing profit in the quarter totaled US$232m compared with a loss of $168m a year ago.

For the quarter, Navistar reported earnings of $86m, or $1.19 a share, compared with a year earlier loss of $343m, or $4.81 a share, that largely stemmed from the termination of Navistar's engine supply contract with Ford and the closing of an Indianapolis plant where those engines were built.

The latest results included 58 cents of charges for financing expenses and costs to idle plants in Ontario, Canada and Arkansas. Navistar's revenue in the quarter fell 15% to $3.29bn.

For 2009 fiscal year, Navistar's net income was $320m, or $4.46 per share, compared with $134m, or $1.82 per share, in 2008. Results in 2009 were aided by $160m from Ford to terminate the engine contract, Dow Jones noted.