By Ryan Beene, Crain's Detroit Business
Detroit, Michigan -- Lear Corp. saw first quarter revenue increase by more than a third compared with the year-ago period as global car and truck production volumes continued to gain traction.
Lear, the world's second-largest manufacturer of automotive seating systems, posted net income of $66.1 million on revenue of $2940 million in the first quarter, swinging from a $264.8 million net loss on revenue of $2170 million in the same period in 2009.
Driving the revenue increase was a 72-percent increase in North American vehicle production, as well as a 32-percent increase in Europe, a 20-percent increase in Brazil and a 65-percent production surge in China.
Lear posted a 32-percent sales increase in its seating business unit and a 50-percent jump in its burgeoning electrical power management component business, bringing sales in the unit to $625 million.
Lear also completed a refinancing that cut its debt load.
The company used $700 million in proceeds from two unsecured note sales and some of its cash on hand to repay $925 million in loan debt.
As of 3 April, the company had about $1300 million in cash and $745 million in total debt. Lear shed about $2800 million in debt during its four-month trip through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It emerged from court protection in November.
Improving industry conditions pushed Lear to improve its 2010 outlook.
The company expects full-year revenue to be about $11 000 million, up from its most recent projection of $10 200 million to $10 700 million. Lear also raised its vehicle production expectations to a rate of 11 million vehicles in North America, 15.8 million vehicles in Europe and 13.1 million vehicles in China.