American Axle Returns To Profitability

DETROIT (AP) -- Auto parts supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. posted a first-quarter profit Friday, reversing a year-ago loss as sales to automakers including General Motors and Chrysler rose for the quarter.

But its shares dropped after American Axle issued a forecast for 2010 sales that fell short of Wall Street expectations.

The company, which makes drive train and chassis systems, said it earned $16.3 million, or 22 cents per share. That compares with a 2009 first-quarter loss of $32.7 million, or 59 cents per share.

Revenue rose 30 percent to $521.9 million from $402.4 million a year earlier.

The company said the increase resulted from higher production for sport utility vehicles and trucks at Chrysler and General Motors.

Sales to other automakers also rose.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters on average forecast quarterly earnings of 22 cents per share on revenue of $535 million.

American Axle said it expects to see higher sales this year on as overall auto sales gain. But the company acknowledged that its sales guidance of between $2 billion and $2.1 billion for 2010 is more conservative than analysts' forecast for of $2.18 billion.

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