UPDATE 2-American Axle quarterly profit tops estimates

Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:30am EDT

* EPS ex-items 36 cents vs Street view 27 cents

* Revenue $559.6 mln; analysts expected $540.9 mln

* Sees increased demand for full-size pickups, SUVs

* Shares up 2.2 percent in premarket trade (Adds details on result, outlook, stock activity)

DETROIT, July 30 (Reuters) - American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc (AXL.N) posted quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street estimates on Friday and said it was benefiting from increased demand for full-size pickups and SUVs.

The auto parts maker, whose shares were up 2.2 percent in premarket trade, also said it expects demand for large pickups and SUVs to continue through the second half of 2010 and raised its full-year revenue forecast.

Net income was $25.4 million, or 34 cents per share, in the second quarter, compared with a net loss of $288.6 million, or $5.20 per share, a year earlier, when the auto parts maker took charges for asset impairments and work force cuts.

Excluding charges mainly for a planned plant closing, American Axle earned 36 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 27 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales more than doubled to $559.6 million in the quarter from $245.6 million a year earlier.

In the summer of 2009, American Axle's biggest customer, General Motors Co [GM.UL], and Chrysler, another key customer, had extended production shutdowns as they prepared and executed government-supported bankruptcies.

The auto parts maker builds axles and other driveline components mainly for larger vehicles, but aims to diversify its business to include smaller vehicles and revenue from companies other than GM. Non-GM sales rose to $135.2 million in the quarter, or about 24 percent of the total.

American Axle said it now expects sales growth of 40 percent to 45 percent in 2010 from last year. The company reported sales of $1.52 billion for 2009, making that range roughly $2.13 billion to $2.2 billion, compared with an April forecast for 2010 sales of $2 billion to $2.1 billion.

American Axle shares rose to $9.30 in premarket trade from Thursday's close at $9.10 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by David Bailey; editing by John Wallace)

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