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Lear Corporation, a leading global supplier of automotive seating and electrical distribution systems, January 30 reported improved financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2014 and confirmed its full year 2015 financial outlook.
In the fourth quarter, global vehicle production increased 1% from a year ago, primarily reflecting growth in China and North America. Production was up 7% in China and up 4% in North America. Production was flat in Europe & Africa and down 12% in South America. For the full year, global vehicle production increased 3% from a year ago to a record 85.6 million vehicles. Production in China, North America and Europe & Africa increased by 9%, 5% and 3%, respectively. Production in South America was down 17%.
"2014 marked our fifth consecutive year of higher sales, earnings per share and strong free cash flow," said Matt Simoncini, Lear's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Sales grew faster than industry production, and we improved our margins in both business segments on a year-over-year basis. The investments that we have made in expanding our Electrical business, increasing our component capabilities and improving our low-cost manufacturing and engineering footprint in both business segments, as well as the acquisitions of Eagle Ottawa and Guilford, have positioned Lear to take advantage of industry growth and major industry trends."
For the fourth quarter of 2014, Lear reported sales of $4.5 billion, core operating earnings of $280 million, net income of $262 million and adjusted earnings per share of $2.27. This compares with sales of $4.3 billion, core operating earnings of $208 million, net income of $73 million and adjusted earnings per share of $1.55 for the fourth quarter of 2013. In the Seating segment, sales were up 10% to $3.5 billion, reflecting higher production on key platforms and the addition of new business, partially offset by the impact of foreign exchange. Adjusted segment earnings were $203 million or 5.9% of sales. Earnings increased 30% from last year, primarily reflecting the increase in sales and favourable operating performance.