LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) -- Auto parts supplier TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. said Friday it lost $946 million in the fourth quarter, citing charges for restructuring and the reduced value of assets, lower sales and a decline in vehicle production.
Auto parts suppliers have been struggling as sales of cars and trucks have slumped industrywide amid a poor economy and rising unemployment.
TRW said it expects its sales to fall as much as 27 percent this year because it expects further steep cuts in automobile production in North America and Europe. Sales in the U.S. are already at their lowest levels in 26 years.
"The automotive industry is in the midst of extraordinary challenges resulting from the sudden and steep decline in global automotive production and economic activity," said John C. Plant, TRW's president and chief executive.
But he said the company's "capital structure and strong liquidity, combined with management's decisive actions to mitigate the effects of the downturn, will help TRW to remain a leading supplier to the world's car manufacturers."
TRW Automotive makes braking, steering and suspension systems, seat belts and air bags and engine components, among other things.
TRW's loss amounted to $9.35 a share in the three months ended Dec. 31. The company earned $56 million, or 56 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.
Sales fell 28 percent to $2.8 billion from $3.9 billion a year earlier.
Excluding special items, including impairment charges of $787 million, TRW lost $74 million, or 73 cents a share, in the quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected an even larger loss of $1.41 per share excluding special items.
Its shares rose 9 cents to $2.47 in morning trading.
For 2008, TRW reported a loss of $779 million or $7.71 cents a share, compared to earnings of $90 million, or 88 cents a share, in 2007. Sales rose 2 percent to $15 billion from $14.7 billion in 2007.
The auto parts supplier said it expects North American auto production to fall 27 percent to 9.3 million units this year, and European production to drop 20 percent to 16.5 million units.
Based on these levels, the company expects its annual sales to range between $10.9 billion and $11.3 billion in 2009. That would be a decline of 24.6 percent to 27 percent from 2008.