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3 Post-Bankruptcy Auto Supplier Stocks for 2011


Visteon ( VSTOV ) (Part 1)

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Freshly emerged from bankruptcy protection on Oct. 1, 2010, Visteon now has a balance sheet that IBISWorld analyst Casey Thormahlen describes as "pretty" and "admirable."

Looking into 2011, Thormahlen said, "expect them to do well."

David Silver from Wall Street Strategies says Visteon had a much tougher time in bankruptcy protection than Lear (LEA), another auto supplier that filed for Chapter 11 last year, and any of the auto makers that went in bankruptcy protection. But now, Van Buren Township, Mich.-based Visteon is in a better place and "should be improving." Visteon filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 28, 2009.

During bankruptcy protection, Visteon sold off many of its divisions and is now focused on its core, niche specialties: climate control, interiors and electronics. This leaner operation makes the company less prone to debt burden, ratings downgrades and onerous interest expenses -- and makes profits easier to come by. Another advantage that Visteon has as it's coming out of bankruptcy protection is strong ties with two of the fastest growing auto brands in the world: Hyundai-Kia and Ford (F); the majority of its revenue comes from these two brands. Visteon was a division of Ford, but was spun off from the automaker a decade ago.

Some 83% of Visteon's revenue now comes from outside of the U.S., with more than 42% of it coming from the fast-growing markets of Asia.

"One of the biggest positives from the latest earnings release for Visteon was the operating cash flow," Silver said. The company generated $50 million of cash flow from operations, which Silver said helped "remodel" its balance sheet. "Operations are improving."

CRT analyst Kirk Ludtke was encouraged by the equity income of $35 million generated by the company's unconsolidated joint ventures in the third quarter -- far better than the $23 million he had expected. Adjusted EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) increased 16% from the year before -- albeit on essentially flat sales.

"It's the fact that sales were flat that concerns us," Silver said.

In all, for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Visteon reported net loss of $140 million, or $1.08 a share vs. net loss of $38 million, or 29 cents a share the year before. Net sales came out to be $1.73 billion, more or less unchanged from a year ago.

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