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* Navistar aims to save up to $175 mln next year
* Interim CEO ran GM truck division, has engineering
* "We're not fire-saling" assets -Campbell
By Nick Zieminski
NEW YORK, Oct 29 U.S. truck and engine maker
Navistar International Corp is willing to look at the
possible sale of any part of its business as it tries to return
to profitability, but it is not willing to consider fire-sale
prices for its assets, interim Chief Executive Lewis Campbell
said on Monday.
Campbell, who replaced CEO Dan Ustian in August, said he
came out of retirement because he was excited about the prospect
of turning around an iconic American business. The company is
about halfway through an analysis of every business it operates,
"Every business we have, like it or not, is going to go
through the eye of the ROIC needle," Campbell told an auto
industry conference in Las Vegas that was monitored via the
Internet. ROIC refers to returns on invested capital. Any
business that does not improve within a reasonable time, "we
might try to monetize it," Campbell said.
The company is cutting costs and weighing asset sales,
targeting savings of up to $175 million next year.
It has also sold 10 million common shares to
raise funds for capital spending and other initiatives, creating
a cushion in case of a severe slump in demand.
Navistar had struggled to win U.S. regulatory approval for a
new diesel engine technology that it dropped in August, saying
it would buy engines from Cummins Inc. The Navistar
engine design could not be saved, Campbell said he concluded
early in the review of the business.
Earlier this month, Navistar agreed to appoint three new
members to its board, avoiding a proxy fight with activist
investors Carl Icahn and Mark Rachesky, who have demanded
changes. Icahn had criticized the company's product strategy,
called its appointment of the new CEO "ill-advised" and had
demanded representation on the board.
Campbell said his engineering background and experience
running a GM truck division gave him the confidence to tackle a
corporate turnaround. "I've seen this movie before," he said.
"How do you turn down an opportunity to turn around an American
icon? You really can't."
Campbell, who was hired as interim CEO and executive
chairman, has said he plans to stay on for two or three years.
He spent 17 years at Textron, during which the Cessna
plane maker was an active buyer and seller of assets, and before
that more than two decades at General Motors Co.
Navistar has laid off or bought out some white-collar
workers, is reducing engineering spending, and will review
whether it needs all 19 of its North American factories at a
time when a shaky U.S. economy is hitting demand for trucks.
The Lisle, Illinois-based company, which also makes Monaco
recreational vehicles, school buses and military vehicles, may
take further steps beyond those already outlined if the U.S.
economy turns out to be "abnormally lousy" next year, the
interim CEO said.
"We have plenty of cash so we're not fire-saling" assets,
Campbell said, adding that Navistar would likely end its quarter
with about $1.025 billion in cash, the top of its forecasted
range or somewhat above it.
(Reporting by Nick Zieminski in New York; Editing by David
Gregorio and Prudence Crowther)