UPDATE 1-American Axle profit tops Street view; stock up

Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:05am EDT

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(Adds quote, revenue, stock action, changes dateline from DETROIT)

BOSTON Oct 30 (Reuters) - American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc (AXL.N) on Tuesday posted a third-quarter profit that easily topped Wall Street expectations, citing higher sales and improved productivity, sending its shares up 5 percent.

The auto parts maker reported net income of $13.1 million, or 25 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $62.9 million, or $1.25 per share, a year earlier, when it took charges for unemployment benefits.

Factoring out restructuring charges and a staff buyout program, profit came to 42 cents per share. On that basis, analysts' average forecast was 24 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

"This is the third quarter in a row where the company significantly beats consensus expectations, which reinforces our view that the Street underestimates the positive impact from reducing AXL's labor costs," Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson wrote in a note to clients.

Revenue rose 10.4 percent to $774.3 million.

The Detroit-based company said the quarter included the effects of a two-day strike by the United Auto Workers union against General Motors Corp (GM.N), an important customer.

American Axle shares were up $1.40 to $27.98 in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange. So far this year the shares are up 47 percent, outpacing the 32 percent rise in the Dow Jones U.S. auto parts makers index .DJUSAT. (Reporting by Scott Malone; additional reporting by Poornima Gupta in Detroit)

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