* EPS ex-items 13 cents/shr, in line with Wall St view
* Sees 2010 revenue, earnings growth
* Reduced debt by $272 mln during 2009 (Adds revenue forecast, industry outlook, CEO comment)
DETROIT, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Auto parts maker Tenneco Inc (TEN.N) reported a quarterly net profit on Thursday and forecast higher revenues and earnings this year as global auto production recovers from a sharp downturn.
Tenneco, the maker of emission control and ride control systems, said it expected to benefit from sweeping cost reductions over the past year as U.S. auto production volumes recover from their worst downturn since the recession of the early 1980s.
The company forecast a 22 percent increase in sales to automakers in 2010 and said sales to automakers were expected to rise 18 percent to 20 percent annually through 2014. Tenneco also relies on sales to aftermarket auto parts retailers for a quarter of its revenue.
Tenneco posted net income of $17 million for the fourth quarter, or 32 cents per share, compared with a $298 million loss, or $6.40 per share, a year earlier.
Sales rose 9 percent from a year before to $1.32 billion.
Excluding one-time items, Tenneco posted fourth-quarter income of $7 million, or 13 cents per share.
On that basis, analysts on average had expected Tenneco to earn 13 cents per share on sales of $1.32 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“Although we are just in the early stages of a global industry recovery and 2010 production forecasts for North America and Europe remain low relative to historical levels, Tenneco is well-positioned to deliver revenue and earnings growth this year,” Chief Executive Gregg Sherrill said.
For 2009, Tenneco reported a net loss of $73 million as sales declined 21 percent, hit by steep production cuts last year by all major carmakers.
Tenneco said it reduced net debt by $272 million during 2009 and ended last year with no borrowings under its revolving credit facilities.
Sales to auto manufacturers are expected to rise to $4.6 billion this year and $5.7 billion in 2011, compared to $3.6 billion last year, Tenneco said. (Reporting by Soyoung Kim, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman)