Eaton posts 1Q earnings; truck segment jumps

Eaton Corp. announced its first quarter earnings rose 70% over the first quarter of 2003.

Its net income per share is 85 cents, up from 50 cents in 1Q 2003. Net income was $134 million, an 86% increase over $72 million posted in the same period last year.

Based on these brisk sales figures, Eaton has raised its full-year outlook for net income per share by 50 cents, to between $3.65 and $3.80. The net income per share outlook for 2Q 2004 is between 90 cents and $1.

The truck segment posted sales of $381 million in the first quarter, a jump of 39 percent compared to 2003, and recorded operating profits of $61 million, nearly three times the profit earned in the first quarter of 2003.

NAFTA heavy-duty production was up 47 percent compared to 2003, NAFTA medium-duty production was up 22 percent, European truck production was down 2 percent, and Brazilian vehicle production was up 14 percent.

“First quarter production of NAFTA heavy-duty trucks totaled 52,000 units, slightly more than in the fourth quarter of 2003,” said Alexander Cutler, chairman & CEO. “Monthly orders for new NAFTA heavy-duty trucks during the first quarter have been running above 30,000 units. As a result, we are growing increasingly confident that the NAFTA heavy-duty market in 2004 is likely to total at least 240,000 units.”

The manufacturer noted sales of its largest business segment, fluid power, were up 10% over 1Q 2003 to $768 million. In the electrical segment, sales were up 19% to $611 million. The automotive segment increased 9% to $478 million.

"As we survey our end markets in 2004, we now anticipate growth of between 5 to 6 percent versus our original expectation for the year of 4 percent," said Cutler. "The mobile hydraulics markets, in particular, are stronger than we had anticipated, as are the residential electrical markets.”

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