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Eaton posts improved profits

Truck component supplier Eaton Corp. ended 2002 on a high note, improving profits by more than 50% in the fourth quarter and by 66% for the year. Cleveland, OH-based Eaton posted net income of $67 million on sales of $1.78 billion in the fourth quarter, up from net income of $30 million during the same period in 2001. For 2002, Eaton said its net income reached $281 million on sales of $7.21 billion. Eaton added that its revenues increased 5% in the fourth quarter compared to the same quarter in 2001, but dropped 1% for the year when compared to 2001. Eaton said its truck-related businesses posted a 17% increase in sales to $274 million in the fourth quarter over the same period in 2001 and recorded profits of $27 million before restructuring charges, compared to a loss of $9 million a year ago. The company added that, for 2002, NAFTA heavy-duty truck production was up 12%, NAFTA medium-duty truck production was up 6%, European truck production was down 6%, and South American production increased by 5%. "Heavy-duty truck production in NAFTA totaled 181,000 units in 2002 and he expects that production during 2003 could approach 190,000 units, with volumes lower in the first quarter and strengthening during the balance of the year," said chairman & CEO Alexander Cutler. Despite those improvements, however, he foresees slower times ahead. "We see only marginal growth in the first half of 2003, with stronger growth likely in the second half. For the year as a whole, we are anticipating growth in our end markets of approximately 1 to 2%," Cutler said.

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