Seating, electrical and electronics supplier Lear Corporation on Tuesday reported third quarter net sales of $3.6bn and pretax income of $60.1m, including restructuring costs of $37.3m and other special items of $8.0m.

A year ago it reported higher net sales of $4.1bn but a pretax loss of $65.9m, including restructuring costs and other special items of $46.1m.

Income before interest, other expense, income taxes, restructuring costs and other special items (core operating earnings) was $170.4m for the third quarter of 2007 compared with net sales of $3.3bn and core operating earnings of $100.1m, excluding the divested interior business, for the third quarter of 2006.

"Our financial performance continued to improve in the third quarter as the benefits from on-going operational efficiencies, our global restructuring initiative and new business favourably impacted our bottom line," said chairman, CEO and president Bob Rossiter.

Net sales in core businesses were up from the prior year, primarily reflecting the addition of new business outside of North America and favourable foreign exchange, offset in part by unfavourable platform mix in North America. Operating performance improved from the year-earlier results, reflecting cost improvement actions and restructuring initiative, as well as benefits from new business outside of North America.

In the seating segment, operating margins improved, reflecting favourable cost performance from restructuring and ongoing efficiency actions, selective vertical integration and the benefit of new business globally. In the electrical and electronic segment, operating margins declined, reflecting unfavourable net pricing and the end of several key programmes in North America.

Lear reported net income of $41.0m, or $0.52 per share, for the third quarter of 2007 compared with a net loss of $74.0m, or $1.10 per share, for the third quarter of 2006.

Lear expects 2007 net sales of approximately $15 billion, unchanged from earlier, but anticipates 2007 core operating earnings in the range of $680m, up from the last full-year outlook, reflecting lower production risk and more favourable operating performance.

Restructuring costs in 2007 are estimated to be about $125m.

Pretax income before restructuring costs and other special items is estimated in the range of $430m.

For 2008, Lear expects industry vehicle production in North America to be generally in-line with its 2007 outlook and in Europe to be up slightly from 2007. In North America, it is forecasting moderately unfavourable platform mix, reflecting lower production of high-content full-size pick-up trucks and large SUVs.

Net sales and core operating earnings, excluding restructuring-related costs, are seen roughly in line with 2007.

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