* Q3 loss of C$0.01 a share vs EPS C$0.12
* After items, EPS of C$0.02
* Analysts had expected EPS of C$0.04 after items
* Revenue down 28 percent at C$421.1 million
TORONTO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Auto parts maker Linamar Corp (LNR.TO) said on Thursday that, after stripping out unusual items, it managed to return to a quarterly profit as auto production and sales levels started to pick up.
Linamar, which makes precision components for engines and transmissions, reported a loss of C$500,000 ($476,000), or 1 Canadian cent a share, in the third quarter. That compares to earnings of C$12 million, or 12 Canadian cents, a year earlier, the last time the company reported a net profit.
Stripping out unusual items related to restructuring, capital asset impairments due to market conditions, and other writedowns, the company said it earned C$1.1 million, or 2 Canadian cents a share.
Analysts had expected, on average, a profit of 4 Canadian cents a share, after items, on revenue of C$445.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales in the quarter at the Guelph, Ontario-based company were down 28 percent from a year earlier, at C$421.1 million.
"After a very challenging first six months we are very pleased to see production and sales levels picking up and a return to profitability," Linamar Chief Executive Linda Hasenfratz said in a statement.
"We continue to execute strongly on every aspect of our action plan, from strong market share growth to continued cash generation and cost improvement, and look optimistically towards continuing to enjoy the benefits of those results in the future."
The company reported its results after market close. Its shares ended the day down 42 Canadian cents, or 2.7 percent, at C$15.00 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The stock has more than quadrupled in value since the beginning of the year, when the fates of General Motors Co [GM.UL] and Chrysler, two of its big customers, were uncertain.
$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson