ArvinMeritor Issues Profit Warning; Stock Off

Bad news all around for ArvinMeritor, which warns that its fourth-quarter profit will fall short of estimates while posting a loss for its third quarter and announcing the sale of its wheels business.
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TROY, Mich. (


) --



, the vehicle-parts maker, posted another steep quarterly loss Tuesday and issued a profit warning, news that overshadowed the announced sale of its wheels division to a Brazilian manufacturer for $180 million.

Shares of the company fell as much as 12% in Tuesday's early going, before pulling back from those losses. The stock was trading in morning action at $6.58, down 4.5%.

In a premarket press release, Arvin said it now expects its fourth-quarter earnings and revenue to fall below what it posted in the just-ended period. That's substantially less than what Wall Street had been anticipating, though the company did not provide specific figures.

For its third quarter, excluding restructuring charges, the company posted a loss of $18 million, or 25 cents a share, which topped analysts' expectations of a 31-cent loss, on a per-share basis.

Revenue for the company came in at $993 million, below analysts' targets of $1.2 billion.

Both top and bottom lines represent steep declines from the year-earlier period, when Arvin took in a before-items profit of $54 million, or 74 cents a share, on revenue of $1.9 billion.

The company also sold its chassis business during the quarter, as previously announced. The moves come as Arvin attempts to focus its business away from the slumping car-making industry and toward commercial vehicles.

Still, the outlook was what appeared to spook investors. Analysts' had been expecting the company to lose 5 cents a share in the quarter and post revenue of $1.25 billion. But if Arvin is now forecasting earnings below what it reported in the third period, those Wall Street targets are too high by wide margin.

Debt concerns have developed on the company's balance sheet. "While we anticipate market conditions will remain tough through our fourth fiscal quarter," Arvin chief Chip McClure said in a statement, "we are taking appropriate actions that should help offset the impact and allow us to remain in compliance with our year-end credit line financial covenant." P/>

-- Reported by Scott Eden in New York

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