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ArvinMeritor Breaks Even In 1Q Amid Higher Margins, Lower Revenue

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES ArvinMeritor Inc. (ARM) reported breakeven results in its fiscal first-quarter due to improved margins, compared with a year-earlier loss which included steep charges. The auto-parts supplier also said it expected second-quarter revenue to be flat sequentially, or $1.15 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected $1.05 billion. The industry's outlook has improved in recent months amid expectations that sales will improve in North America and Europe this year. For ArvinMeritor and others, that should lead to reduced cash use and improved results. All three major ratings agencies lowered ArvinMeritor to highly speculative territory last year amid the auto sales slump, but have become more positive of late. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the maker of commercial- and light-vehicle parts posted breakeven results, compared with a prior-year loss of $961 million, or $13.29 a share, which included $856 million in write-downs. Revenue declined 6.1% to $1.15 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 7-cent loss on revenue of $1.06 billion. Gross margin rose to 10% from 6.1% on cost-cuttting. Sales at its commercial-vehicle systems business--its largest--fell 27% as the unit swung to a small profit. Sales also fell at the aftermarket and trailer business, but rose for industrial and light vehicle systems. ArvinMeritor sells axles, braking and suspension systems for trucks, while also providing body systems for light vehicles. About half of the company's sales are in North America, and a third are in Europe. Shares closed Monday at $10.09 and were inactive in premarket trading. -By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; [email protected]

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