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Visteon: Ford production cuts hit 4Q performance

Automotive supplier Visteon Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Peter J. Pestillo said the fourth-quarter performance was hit by former parent Ford Motor Co.“s recent production cuts. But Pestillo sai…

Automotive supplier Visteon Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Peter J. Pestillo said the fourth-quarter performance was hit by former parent Ford Motor Co.“s recent production cuts. But Pestillo said, “we“re trying to stay within the guidance” that Visteon had previously offered investors for the quarter. Visteon told investors at the time it released third-quarter financial results that it anticipated earnings of USD 15 million to USD 35 million in the fourth quarter, before any restructuring expenses. The company said it expected operating cash flow of between USD 175 million and USD 250 million for the fourth quarter. Visteon has lost USD 318 million during the first nine months of 2002, mainly because of restructuring expenses and writedowns of goodwill. Pestillo told Dow Jones that Ford“s recently announced fourth-quarter production cuts “had a dramatic impact on us,” in part because they came relatively suddenly following sluggish November sales. Pestillo declined to go into further detail on his outlook for the fourth quarter. Visteon, spun off from Ford in 2000, is involved in a number of cost-cutting and restructuring initiatives as well as efforts to expand business beyond its former parent. “I don“t care if we get smaller as long as we get more profitable,” Pestillo said. This week, Visteon concluded a program to offer early-retirement packages to about 1,000 to 1,100 salaried workers. Of those eligible, about 300 employees accepted early-retirement deals, which was more than expected, company spokesman Greg Gardner said Tuesday. Visteon wants to expand its business with Asian and European manufacturers, Pestillo said. “Hyundai is our second-largest customer,” he said. And Visteon has contracts to supply components to vehicles that will be built at Nissan Motor Co.“s (NSANY) new Mississippi factory. “We have a little Honda business and a little Toyota business. They“re the emerging customers. It“s important for us to get a wider customer base,” he said. In the third quarter of 2002, for the first quarter ever, Visteon“s sales outside of Ford accounted for more than 20% of total revenue. Visteon“s objective is to have 25% non-Ford business by 2004 and 30% of its revenues from outside of Ford by 2005. Visteon has total annual revenues of about USD 18 billion.

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