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Lear Posts Profit After Bankruptcy

After exiting bankruptcy in November, auto parts supplier reported fourth-quarter profit of $1.23 billion, but also issued 2010 sales forecast below analyst expectations.

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) -- Automotive parts supplier Lear Corp. reported a fourth-quarter profit of $1.23 billion that was largely due to a huge accounting gain related to its November exit from bankruptcy protection.

It said Friday that its core operating earnings excluding one-time items as well as interest and income tax expenses rose to $115 million from $22 million a year ago, as automotive production picked up.

But it also issued a 2010 sales forecast below many analysts' expectations.

Stung by the downturn in the auto industry, Lear filed for Chapter 11 protection in July last year. It emerged Nov. 9. Auto suppliers were hit hard by a downturn in vehicle sales last year as automakers idled their factories and slashed orders from parts makers.

Lear's profit for the last three months of 2009 included a $1.5 billion gain related to reorganization items and fresh start accounting adjustments. That was offset in part by goodwill impairment charge of $319.0 million and restructuring costs of $59.3 million. Its profit compares with a loss of $688.2 million, or $8.91 a share, a year ago.

It did not disclose its per-share results for the most recent quarter.

Sales rose 5 percent to $2.7 billion from $2.6 billion a year ago.

It said sales in its seating segment rose 5 percent to $2.2 billion, primarily due to favorable exchange rates. Its electrical power segment posted a sales increase of 8 percent to $569 million, helped by higher production and a better exchange rate.

But it projected 2010 sales between $10.2 billion and $10.7 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters call for $10.87 billion, on average, for the year.

Lear shares fell 56 cents to $70.66 in morning trading.

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