Howland-based supplier reports profits


HOWLAND —  Stoneridge posted a large increase in profits in 2006 but warned of lower earnings this year.

The Howland-based auto supplier blamed its lower expectations on a soft North American auto market. Stoneridge designs and produces wire harnesses and switching, sensing and electronic devices. Its products are used on cars, trucks and other equipment.

John Corey, company president and chief executive, said Stoneridge’s new products and cost-cutting efforts will help it recover from some of the weakness expected in the market this year.

Stoneridge employs 6,000 employees on four continents, but nearly all of the employees are located outside the Mahoning Valley. The company has its headquarters and an Alphabet Co. plant in Trumbull County.

Company officials said on a conference call with investors Wednesday that it is expanding its manufacturing operations in countries where auto manufacturing is increasing, such as China and India.

About 75 percent of its sales were to the North American market last year, compared with 78 percent the year before.

Stoneridge said it expects its earnings this year to be between 45 cents and 55 cents a share.

It reported earnings for 2006 of 63 cents a share, or $14.5 million. That compared with earnings of 4 cents a share, or $900,000, the previous year.

Sales for last year were $708.7 million, compared with $671.6 million for 2005.

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