TRW 4Q profit rises

By Anastasia Tomazhenkova: The world's largest maker of automotive safety equipment, TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., posted that its fourth-quarter profit rose 70% supported by growth in auto safety product sales and higher customer vehicle production in Europe and China.

Net profit rose to 56 million dollars, or 55 cents per share, from 33 million dollars, or 32 cents, a year earlier. Sales jumped 19% to 3.88 billion. dollars. The results beat analysts' estimates.

TRW is selling more parts, such as steering systems and air bags, in Asia and Europe as U.S.-based automakers build fewer vehicles in North America. The supplier is also counting on increased safety regulation worldwide to boost demand.

``New products and geographical diversification more than offset North American production declines,'' James Leda, a New York-based analyst for Merrill Lynch & Co., wrote in a note to investors.

Earnings excluding tax benefits were 44 cents per share. Analysts expected adjusted earnings of 41 cents per share.

Foreign currency gains added 328 million dollars to the quarter's revenue. Excluding those adjustments, sales increased 8.7% or 286 million dollars, TRW said.

The company forecasts 2008 revenue of 15.6 billion dollars to 16 billion dollars, while analysts expect 14.87 billion dollars.