From: Reuters
Published March 28, 2008 12:27 AM

Noble International slashes 2008 outlook as has Q4 loss

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Noble International Ltd <NOBL.O>, which provides parts, component assemblies and services to the auto industry, slashed its 2008 forecast on Thursday, citing a drastic decline in expected North American light vehicle production this year.

The Troy, Michigan-based company also said its fourth-quarter net loss more than doubled to $5 million, or 21 cents per share, from $2.2 million a year earlier.

Results included one-off items that lowered earnings by 26 cents per share, Noble said. Net sales rose 130 percent to $317.4 million.

Analysts had on average expected profit of 24 cents per share on revenue of $330 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

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It was not immediately clear whether analysts' forecasts excluded all or some of the items.

Noble said it now expected 2008 profit of 45 cents to 55 cents per share on net sales of $1.15 billion to $1.2 billion. In November it had projected profit of $1.45 to $1.55 per share on revenue of $1.2 billion.

Analysts had on average expected profit of $1.45 per share on revenue of $1.22 billion.

Noble said third-party forecasters now estimate 2008 North American light vehicle production at 14.3 million units, down from 15 million in 2007, and 1 million fewer than the company had assumed in November.

It also said it is facing increased pricing pressure in Europe, higher-than-expected costs from its purchase in August of steel maker ArcelorMittal SA's <ISPA.AS> tailored blank laser-welding operations, and the loss of a key program at the former ArcelorMittal business.

The forecast also excludes about 12 cents per share of first-half costs related to recent financing and the pending departure of Chairman Robert Skandalaris, Noble said.

Noble shares closed on Thursday at $7.36 on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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