(Adds CEO saying he will not comment on takeover attempt during conference call)
By Bernie Woodall
DETROIT, July 29 (Reuters) - Auto systems supplier TRW Automotive Holdings Corp, targeted for takeover by ZF Friedrichshafen, easily beat Wall Street profit expectations for the second quarter as revenue rose 2 percent.
Excluding one-time items, TRW earned $2.32 per share in the quarter, versus $2.02 a year earlier, it said on Tuesday. Analysts expected earnings of $2.12 per share, excluding one-time items, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Earlier this month, Germany’s privately held ZF Friedrichshafen said it was in buyout talks with TRW, which confirmed it had been approached about a takeover.
In a conference call with analysts on Tuesday morning, TRW Chief Executive Officer John Plant said that the company will not during the call advance its statement from earlier this month that it is evaluating the takeover proposal and has not set a timetable for the completion of that review process.
Plant also requested that analysts do not ask about the takeover issue during the call’s question-and-answer period.
ZF Friedrichshafen, the automotive engineering firm, is interested in TRW because it wants to gain a better foothold in the expanding market of self-driving vehicles, ZF’s finance chief said earlier this month..
There were “continuing signs” the auto business in its important European region “appears to be headed in the right direction” despite lower production in the near term due to normal seasonal plant shutdowns, TRW said.
TRW also said it expected production in Brazil to be “challenged by negative economic conditions.”
Second-quarter revenue of $4.59 billion narrowly exceeded analysts’ expectations of $4.56 billion.
Net profit rose 7 percent to $265 million, or $2.27 per diluted share, from $248 million, or $1.99 per diluted share, a year earlier.
“TRW is well positioned to reach its full-year goals given the company’s strong operating performance achieved through the first half of 2014,” Plant said.
TRW, based in suburban Detroit, nudged the low end of its full-year sales outlook to between $17.5 billion and $17.7 billion from the previous forecast of $17.4 billion to $17.7 billion. Last year, sales were $17.4 billion.
It said it expected sales in the third quarter to be about $4.2 billion.
It also raised its outlook for full-year North American auto industry production to 17 million vehicles from 16.8 million, and its European production outlook to 19.9 million vehicles from 19.6 million. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Jeffrey Benkoe and Phil Berlowitz)