Automotive seating and electrical supplier Lear Corp. reported net sales for the first quarter of 2008 of $39 000 million, up 2 percent against last year. Core operating earnings of $187 million were also up by 10 percent against last year's figure.
Within the seating segment, net sales were slightly improved thanks to favourable foreign exchange and benefits of new business. Operating margins were also slightly improved, reflecting favourable cost performance and increased saving from restructuring, Lear said.
During the first quarter, the company implemented a global operating structure for its two business units, naming Lou Salvatore president of Global Seating Systems, and Ray Scott president of Global Electrical and Electronic Systems. This new structure aims to take full advantage of Lear's global scale, thereby enabling access to the lowest cost manufacturing and sourcing available.
Additionally, Lear continued to grow its sales outside of North America and expand its low-cost footprint in Asia. Projects here included a new foam plant in Wuhu, China and a new seat trim facility in Hai Phong, Vietnam.
Lear said it anticipates 2008 income before interest, other expense, income taxes, restructuring costs and other special items (core operating earnings) of $660
to $700 million. Restructuring costs in 2008 are estimated to be about $100 million. RD