Lear Corporation

Lear Corporation posts record full-year results

    Southfield, Michigan (ots-PRNewswire) - Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA), the world's fifth-largest automotive supplier, today reported financial performance for the full year 2000. For the period, Lear posted net sales of US$14.1 billion, operating income of $835.4 million and net income of $274.7 million or $4.17 per share, all full year records for the company. Excluding non-recurring items, Lear had record full year net income of $276.6 million or $4.20 per share.          "We are pleased with our fourth quarter and record full year results given the tough market conditions which closed the year," stated Bob Rossiter, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lear Corporation. "Foreign exchange volatility, rising interest rates and customer production cuts made the second half of the year particularly challenging."          Rossiter continued, "We remain focused on our customers and our shareholders and continue to run the business under the guiding principles that have made us successful. The Lear team really pulled together to get the job done in terms of debt reduction, earnings, cash flow and cost containment. We also divested several non-core businesses during the year, allowing us to repurchase approximately 3.3 million shares of Lear stock."          Rossiter concluded, "We have the product platform for growth in place. Our backlog of new business is a healthy $3.5 billion. Our team is confident in the long-term prospects of this company, as evidenced by management's recent investment of $10 million in Lear stock through the company's Management Stock Purchase Program."          Earnings per share in the quarter, excluding non-recurring items, were essentially flat with a year ago at $1.35 versus $1.36 in the fourth quarter of 1999, as the negative impact of lower production levels and weaker European currencies was offset by aggressive cost actions and a lower number of shares outstanding.          In December 2000, the company completed the sale of four European plastic and metal manufacturing facilities for approximately $30.0 million, resulting in a pretax loss of $19.8 million and an after tax loss $14.9 million or $.23 per share. These non-core businesses were located in Italy and Sweden, employed approximately 1,000 people and had external sales of approximately $60 million for the year ended December 31, 2000.          Net sales for the quarter fell 3 percent to $3.4 billion from $3.5 billion in last year's fourth quarter. The decrease was attributable to lower production, foreign exchange and divestitures. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange and divestitures, sales increased 4 percent.          Sales in the U.S. and Canada region decreased 5 percent from $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 1999 to $2.0 billion due to lower production levels. In Europe, revenues were down 10 percent to $1.0 billion, as a result of weaker European currencies. Rest of the world region sales jumped $115 million to $352 million due to new programs.          Excluding non-recurring items, operating income for the quarter decreased 3 percent from $246.0 million in the fourth quarter of 1999 to $238.4 million. Despite a more difficult than expected operating environment, the Company generated more than $300 million in free cash flow during the quarter.          For the full year, excluding non-recurring items, net income increased 9 percent to $276.6 million, and earnings per share grew by 12 percent to $4.20 per share, compared with earnings of $254.5 million and $3.76 per share in 1999.          Net sales for the full year ended December 31, 2000 rose 13 percent to a record $14.1 billion from $12.4 billion in 1999. Sales in the U.S. and Canada region increased $914 million to $8.6 billion. European sales increased $205 million to $4.1 billion, and revenues in the Rest of the World region increased $525 million to $1.3 billion.          Excluding non-recurring items, operating income for the full year 2000 advanced 18 percent to $835.4 million from $708.9 million in the prior year. For the full year, the company generated $430 million in free cash flow.          Lear Corporation, a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Southfield, Mich., USA, focuses on automotive interiors and electronics and is the world's fifth-largest automotive supplier. Sales in 2000 were $14.1 billion. The company's world-class products are designed, engineered and manufactured by approximately 120,000 employees in over 300 facilities located in 33 countries. Information about Lear and its products is available on the internet at www.lear.com          This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated results as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to general economic conditions in the markets in which Lear operates, fluctuations in the production of vehicles for which the company is a supplier, labour disputes involving the company or its significant customers, risks associated with conducting business in foreign countries and other risks detailed from time to time in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.      ots Original Text Service: Lear Corporation Internet: http://recherche.newsaktuell.de

Contact: Investor Relations: Derek Fiebig, +1 248-447-1624, or Media: Andrea Puchalsky, +1 248-447-1651, both of Lear Corporation      Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/518304.html or fax, +1 800-758-5804, ext. 518304      Web site: http://www.lear.com

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