TRW has reported Q1 net earnings of USD94m compared to an USD86m loss in the same period last year. First-quarter sales were up 16% to USD4.1bn.

However, Q1 last year was depressed by charges of USD147m related to debt recapitalisation and the magnitude of the improvement was impacted by currency gains.

"We have consistently pursued business strategies that improve TRW's long-term competitiveness, which has helped the company overcome difficult industry conditions and is reflected in our solid first quarter performance," said John Plant, president and chief executive officer.

"These strategies focus efforts on improving our global market position in safety, pioneering innovation throughout the organization and implementing our operating programs in a manner that optimizes both cost and quality."

Mr. Plant added, "With respect to innovation, TRW is raising the intelligence of safety. Earlier this year we introduced our vision of Cognitive Safety Systems, which embodies our goal of helping to keep drivers and passengers safer by making vehicles smarter. Cognitive Safety represents the culmination of new and better technology that increasingly uses advanced electronics and proprietary algorithms to sense, analyze and respond to ever-changing conditions. Cognitive Safety focuses attention on our advanced capabilities and underscores our role as an intellectual partner to our customers. In doing so, it also raises our confidence in our ability to provide sustainable long-term growth for the company."

TRW reported first-quarter 2008 sales of USD4.1bn, an increase of USD577 million or 16.2 percent over the prior year period. Foreign currency translation benefited sales in the 2008 quarter by approximately USD358m. First quarter sales, excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, increased approximately USD219m or 6.1 percent over the prior year period. TRW said that increase can be attributed primarily to significantly higher module sales and industry growth in China and South America.

These positive factors were partially offset by price reductions provided to customers and the continued decline in North American vehicle production, including the effects of a supplier-related strike that negatively impacted operations at GM.

Operating income for first-quarter 2008 was USD188m, which compares with USD175m in the prior year period.