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Dana loses $160M in quarter

A global recession and troubled automotive industry were credited with Dana Holding Corp.'s first-quarter loss of $160 million or $1.64 a share.

The Toledo Fortune 500 company a year ago reported a first-quarter profit of $663 million, but it resulted from a one-time gain of $754 million related to its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 1, 2008.

Sales for the quarter were $1.2 billion, down 47 percent compared to the same period last year, the company said. Sales were hurt by the sharp downturn in car sales internationally.

Dana's biggest customer is Ford Motor Co.

In a conference call yesterday with Wall Street analysts, Dana Chief Financial Officer Jim Yost said the firm was still reeling from the effects of substantial global decline in the auto industry.

Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Devine said despite the loss, the company has realized $300 million savings this year through downsizing its global work force, which will be cut by 5,800 by year's end. Since 2007, Dana has cut its work force 35 percent.

Mr. Devine told analysts the auto parts maker has $412 million in available cash and $275 million in lines of credit for its U.S. and European operations to keep the business operating smoothly.

However, in a change from its previous position of not accepting government money, Dana has applied for the U.S. Treasury department's Auto Supplier Support program that protects suppliers of General Motors Corp.

The $5 billion program provides government-backed protection to ensure suppliers get paid no matter what happens to GM. Dana won't apply for a similar program at Chrysler, he said.

Dana also said it will implement a plan to retire up to $126 million of a $1.3 billion loan through an agreement with its lenders. The arrangement, Dana said, would allow the firm to pay 40 to 44 cents for the dollar owed.

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