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Published: Friday, 4/28/2006

Dana CEO got raise, no bonus in '05

None of the top officers of Toledo's largest firm received bonuses last year, although the chief executive officer collected a salary increase.

Dana Corp., which restated its earnings for four years last year and this year filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, paid CEO Michael Burns a salary of $1.03 million last year, no bonus, and other cash compensation of $197,000, the firm said in a regulatory filing late yesterday.

Mr. Burns in the year before, his first at the helm of one of the nation's largest independent automotive parts suppliers, was paid $826,000 in salary and $1.1 million in bonuses and other cash benefits.

Although his total compensation plummeted from 2004, when he led the CEOs at the Toledo area's companies with publicly traded stock, his boost in salary placed him at the top in that category locally last year.

Other officers not receiving bonuses were Robert Richter, now retired, chief financial officer; Bernard Cole, retired president of the heavy-vehicle technologies unit; Michael DeBacker, general counsel; and James Laisure, retired president of the automotive systems group.

Some industry analysts questioned whether Mr. Richter should have been aware of or had practices in place to prevent the accounting problems in the commercial vehicle unit last year that resulted in profits being cut $44 million over four years.

Mr. Richter received a $547,000 salary last year, plus stock and some other compensation, and this year received a pension payout of $1.4 million. The other retired executives also received payouts.

Dana, in a required financial filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said yesterday it lost $1.6 billion, or $10.73 a share, last year, down from a revised $62 million, or 41 cents a share, profit the year before.

The figures were the virtually the same as in a preliminary report the firm issued last month.

The company also said it had sales last year of $8.6 billion, not counting the $1.2 billion or so from three business units it is trying to sell, also consistent with its earlier report. A year earlier, the firm reported $7.8 billion in sales for comparable operations.

The firm's commercial truck unit had slumping margins even though sales of commercial trucks in the country generally rose. The increased business, the filing stated, created "production inefficiencies" at a Kentucky plant, resulting in higher overtime, added warehousing, and other costs.

The multi-national firm, which filed for bankruptcy protection March 3 in New York, is not holding its usual annual shareholders meeting this year as it works to draft a bankruptcy-exit plan. Its stock, removed from the New York Stock Exchange, closed yesterday at $1.95.



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