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Lear Emerges Form Bankruptcy; Swings To 3Q Profit

By Jeff Bennett OF DOW JONES NEWSWIRES DETROIT -(Dow Jones)- Lear Corp., the maker of automotive seats and electronics, emerged from bankruptcy protection while also reporting a third-quarter profit. Armed with $1 billion in cash, smaller debt and a sales backlog of $1.4 billion, Lear intends to resume trading on the New York Stock Exchange under its "LEA" symbol within the next several days, the company said in a statement Monday. "We have moved through the financial restructuring process without missing a beat operationally," Lear Chief Executive Robert Rossiter said in a written statement. The company filed for bankruptcy protection July 7 after it reached a deal with most of its creditors to restructure its debt. Lear emerges in an auto market still struggling with the deep economic recessions both in the U.S. and Europe. Although some auto makers, such as Ford Motor Co. (F), are doing better, most foresee a difficult 2010 as the number of vehicles sold slowly recovery. Additionally, GM and Chrysler Group LLC are attempting to ignite sales after their own bankruptcy proceeding earlier this year. For the quarter, net income was $24.6 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with a loss of $98.2 million or $1.27 a share. Sales fell 18.7% to $2.5 billion from $3.1 billion for the same time period a year earlier. Driving the profit was cost cuts as selling, general and administrative costs fell 23% to $98.2 million while interest expenses dropped 54% to $21.5 million for the three months ended Oct. 3. Seating sales fell to $2 billion compared with 42.5 billion for the same period a year earlier while sales in the electronics division also slumped to $509 million from $655 million. The company blamed lower industry production. Lear will host a conference call at 11 a.m. EST Wednesday to discuss its third-quarter results. -By Jeff Bennett, Dow Jones Newswires; jeff.bennett@dowjones.com; 248-204-5542

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