May 5, 2008 / 8:25 PM / 10 years ago

Wescast swings to loss as sales drop 20 pct

TORONTO, May 5 (Reuters) - Wescast Industries Inc WCSa.TO, which makes exhaust manifolds for cars and light trucks, swung to a first-quarter loss as sales plunged more than 20 percent, the company said on Monday.

Wescast lost C$2.5 million, or 19 Canadian cents per share, in the three months ended March 30. That compared with a profit of C$3.1 million, or 23 Canadian cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Sales plunged 21.2 percent to C$81.9 million from C$104 million, Wescast said. It blamed “significantly lower” sales at its North American and European operations.

In North America, the company was hurt by a weaker light vehicle market and reduced requirements from General Motors (GM.N), it said. GM needed fewer manifolds because of a strike at auto parts supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc (AXL.N).

Wescast’s thinly traded shares last changed hands at C$9.10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson)

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