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Lear Corp. narrowed loss in 2006


Lear Corp. said Thursday it lost even more money in the fourth quarter than it did a year ago, but narrowed its 2006 losses while divesting a costly business unit to better position the overall company.

The Southfield-based auto supplier of interior features reported a net loss of $645 million, or $8.90 per share, up 7% from a loss of $602.6 million, or $8.97 per share in fourth quarter 2005.

During the quarter, Lear reached an agreement to transfer its North American Interior business to a joint venture with billionaire investor Wilbur Ross. In return, Lear now has a 25% equity stake in the joint venture.

For the year, Lear reported a loss of $707.5 million, or $10.31 per share, including the loss on the divesture, restructuring costs and other special items. That compares with a net loss of $1.4 billion, or $20.57 per share in 2005.

“In a challenging environment last year, we improved our financial results for the full year, improved our liquidity position and took a number of important steps to reposition Lear for future success,” Lear Chairman Bob Rossiter said in a statement.

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