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Suppliers strain to make a profit

SUPPLIERS
Total shareholder return for largest global suppliers; percentage change per period
  Name Q3 2001 Past 12 months Past 36 months
1 Collins & Aikman -0.9 31.2 1.4
2 GKN PLC -1.7 -2.8 -2.6
3 Kolbenschmidt -5.6 0.7 -43.7
4 Autoliv Inc. -8.3 -17.4 -39.7
5 Johnson Controls -9.5 25 48.5
6 Calsonic Corp. -9.9 8.5 -3.6
7 Magna -13.9 24.2 -2
8 Linamar Corp. -14.2 -14.4 -40.1
9 ArvinMeritor -14.3 -2.4
10 Aisin Seiki Co. -15.1 -19.5 44
11 Showa -16.8 24 18.5
12 Michelin Group -17 -2.6 -27.1
13 Faurecia -17.9 39.9 -30.4
14 BorgWarner -18.6 23.3 13.4
15 Valeo SA -22.1 -24.5 -52
16 Lear Corp. -22.6 31.5 -38.2
17 Stanley Electric -24.1 -42.4 108
  TSR Index -24.6 -27.5 -43
18 American Axle -25 18.6
19 Denso -25.2 -40.4 -0.6
20 Delphi -25.5 -20.6
21 TRW Inc. -26.7 -23.9 -26.5
22 NHK Spring Co. -28 -47.4 -4.8
23 Tower Automotive -30 -23.5 -63.7
24 NSK Ltd. -30.2 -57.8 -11
25 Continental AG -30.8 -42.7 -56.6
26 Dana Corp. -32.1 -22.6 -51.7
27 Goodyear Tire -33.5 7.9 -59.7
28 Bridgestone Corp. -33.6 -40.5 -64.8
29 Stoneridge Inc. -34.8 -27.2 -56.7
30 Textron Automotive -38.5 -25.2 -40.9
31 Visteon -43.3 -44.4
32 Intermet Corp. -50 -60 -76.5
33 Dura Automotive -54.9 -21.9 -72.1
34 Federal-Mogul -61.6 -88.1 -98.6

Suppliers are under the same economic pressure as automakers and retailers, but with a twist. Parts makers' problems continue to be compounded by the customer push to accept lower prices, delayed payments and increased development costs.

It has left most suppliers straining for profits - some even struggling to survive - in a year that continues to worsen. Many struggle with high debt levels, cash flow deficiencies and marginal businesses that are tough to sell.

What's more, bigger companies are hurting. Previously, failing suppliers tended to be in the $75 million to $100 million range in annual revenue. Now, companies of $250 million and more are in danger of falling, said Mike Burwell, partner in the transaction services group at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Federal-Mogul Corp., a $3.5 billion player in original equipment sales, filed for bankruptcy protection just after the quarter ended.

Even suppliers with better financial prospects feel the squeeze. Burwell said there is a 90 percent chance that within the next year, every Tier 1 supplier will have production disrupted because troubled Tier 2 suppliers won't be able to deliver parts.

Supplier returns have reflected such concerns; after a rise during the spring and early summer, values plunged again. The group posted an average decline of 24.6 percent during the third quarter, on top of a one-year decline of 27.5 percent and a three-year drop of 43 percent. The performance trails market benchmarks on nearly all counts.

Collins & Aikman Corp. fared better than all other suppliers in the third quarter with only a 0.9 percent decline. Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. posted the poorest performance, with an 84.3 percent drop. Hayes Lemmerz and Federal-Mogul anchored the supplier group's bottom slots for all periods measured.

Faurecia led the one-year list with a 39.9 percent gain. Stanley Electric Co. Ltd. topped the three-year report with a 108 percent gain.

You can reach Amy Wilson at awilson@crain.com

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