TRW has posted first-quarter net earnings of US$235m on sales up 7% to US$4.1bn, as it predicts a 17.4m unit market for North America this year.

The results include a pre-tax gain of US$186m on the previously-announced sale of its engine valve business to Federal-Mogul.

“TRW achieved a strong start to 2015, which will provide a solid foundation as we enter the merger with ZF,” said TRW chairman and CEO, John Plant.

“The agreement signed with ZF, which we expect to close during the second quarter, provides significant benefits for our shareholders who will receive full and certain value for their shares, as well as for our employees, customers and communities all of which will reap the benefits of being part of a larger, more diversified global organisation.”

For the rest of this year, TRW says its planning assumptions for industry production volumes are around 17.4m units in North America and 20m in Europe, up 2% and flat, respectively, compared to 2014 levels.

The company continues to expect expansion in vehicle production volumes in China and rest of world regions. 

Based on these production levels, the negative impact of lost sales related to divested businesses, primarily the previously announced sale of TRW’s engine valve business, as well as the company’s expectations for foreign currency exchange rates, full year 2015 sales are expected to range between US$16.2bn and US$16.5bn.