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Published: Thursday, 5/15/2008

Dana sets goal of increased profit


Dana Holding Corp. is back on track toward profitability but still needs a lot of improvement, top executives told analysts and investors yesterday.

"We're not profitable enough. We have more work to do here," said Dana's executive chairman, John Devine. He and other executives talked about the Toledo axle maker's first-quarter financial performance.

The company, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 1, said this week it lost $24 million on sales of $1.56 billion in February and March, compared with a $92 million loss on $2.15 billion in sales for the first quarter a year ago. In January, it had a $709 million profit on sales of $751 million.

The Fortune 500 firm has a main priority to rebuild its management team, much of which left upon the firm's exit from its two-year bankruptcy. It recently hired Gary Convis, a longtime executive with Toyota Motor Corp., as its chief executive.

It said yesterday it hired James A. Yost, 59, as executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective next Thursday. He has been executive vice president and chief financial officer at Hayes Lemmerz International Inc., an automotive parts supplier. He had experience at Ford Motor Co. for 27 years.

Mr. Convis, praised for his implementation of "lean manufacturing" at Toyota, said a support team will engage plant leaders and union officials to help achieve such goals. "All of Dana must improve operational effectiveness," he said.

The company is being hurt by steel prices that are up 30 percent from last year, which could add up to $100 million in costs a year, Mr. Devine said.

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