Jose Maria Alapont refuses to be dragged down by the North American downturn.
"Of course, volumes in the U.S. market are a concern," said the CEO of supplier Federal-Mogul Corp., which emerged from six years of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December. "But Europe, Asia-Pacific and South America are showing good volumes."
Last week, Alapont spoke with Automotive News about Federal-Mogul's first-quarter results. An accounting charge led to a net loss of $31.5 million. Without the charge, the suburban Detroit company said, its net profit would have been $31.8 million.
Sales rose 8.3 percent to a quarterly record $1.86 billion. Sales in the United States and Canada dropped 2.4 percent to $722 million, but sales in Europe rose 14.4 percent to $898 million.
Sales in other markets jumped 25.1 percent to $239 million.
Alapont declined to forecast future results but hinted broadly that sales will continue to climb.
Currently, Federal-Mogul's annual sales are about $4 billion. Of that, roughly 60 percent is to carmakers and 40 percent to the aftermarket.
But over the three years from 2005 through 2007, Federal-Mogul booked new orders totaling about $15 billion from carmakers alone. From the time an order is received to when a supplier starts shipping parts usually takes about three years, so those new orders are only now beginning to turn into payments.
Federal-Mogul's annual sales are poised to jump to about $5 billion.