UPDATE 2-Visteon posts lower results; shares fall

Wed Mar 9, 2011 12:17pm EST

* CEO: restructuring of suppliers more than half-way done

* CEO: will take 'a few years' to get double-digit margins

* Shares down nearly 11 pct in midday trading (Adds share price drop, CEO interview, outlook)

DETROIT, March 9 (Reuters) - Auto parts maker Visteon Corp (VC.N), which emerged from bankruptcy last year, reported lower fourth-quarter operating profit on Wednesday and said it was scouting for acquisitions.

Visteon shares fell nearly 11 percent after the company posted a drop in sales and earnings compared with the year-earlier period, when it was in bankruptcy.

The company, which counts Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) among its largest customers, said it expects 2011 sales of $7.3 billion to $7.5 billion.

It forecast earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $620 million to $660 million.

Visteon projected EBITDA margins of 8.6 percent this year. Its goal is to get margins in the low double-digits, which will take a few years, Chief Executive Don Stebbins said.

Visteon was spun off from Ford in 2000 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2009, a casualty of the auto industry crisis that sent General Motors (GM.N) and Chrysler into bankruptcy.

Stebbins said the business outlook for auto parts suppliers has stabilized, and the industrywide restructuring was half-way to three-quarters complete.

"There are suppliers that have not completed their restructuring," Stebbins told Reuters in an interview. "They have not gotten their houses in order and as volumes ramp up, I think they may have a difficult time."

Visteon posted fourth-quarter operating earnings of $86 million, or $1.66 a share, compared with $276 million, or $2.12 a share, a year earlier.

Including gains of $1.06 billion from its bankruptcy reorganization, it earned $1.13 billion in the latest quarter. The company emerged from bankruptcy on Oct 1.

Fourth-quarter sales fell to $1.89 billion from $1.97 billion as divestitures and plant closures partly offset higher vehicle production.

Stebbins said the company was scouting for acquisition targets. He said "green" technology and connectivity within vehicles -- electronics such as global positioning systems and MP3 players -- are two areas the company could develop.

"Each one of our businesses has its own strengths and weaknesses," Stebbins said, adding that "there may be opportunities to strengthen one of those business lines."

Visteon shares were down $7.98 to $65.72 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Ben Klayman and Deepa Seetharaman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)

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