American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings third-quarter earnings dropped 47% on climbing expenses, and the company has predicted year-end earnings at the low end of earlier guidance.

“Lower production levels and increased steel and metallic material prices continue to pressure sales and inflate costs,” chairman and chief executive Richard Dauch said in a statement cited by The Associated Press (AP), which noted that nearly 80% of the company’s revenue comes from General Motors.

The company reportedly earned $19.3 million, or 38 cents per share, down from $36.4 million, or 68 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding certain non-operating items, the company said its earnings would have been even lower at 30 cents per share.

Revenue inched up 1% to $848.1 million from $841.6 million. According to AP, American Axle said sales to companies other than GM grew 18% to $207.2 million, or 24% of sales.

Production volume declined 4%, reflecting a downturn in the market for light trucks, the company reportedly said.

The Associated Press said American Axle now expects 2005 earnings of $1.40 to $1.45 per share, the low end of previous guidance for earnings of $1.40 to $1.55 per share. The outlook includes a charge of $8.9 million, or 12 cents per share, related to job cuts.