Allison Transmission profits surge on global sales

Allison Transmission was more profitable in the first nine months of this year than all of last year.

The company reported a profit of $58.5 million through Sept. 30, compared with $5.5 million in the same period last year.

Allison’s total profit for 2010 was $29.6 million.

One factor driving the surge in profitability is lower interest expense. The company reduced its debt from $3.7 billion at Sept. 30, 2010, to $3.46 billion this year.

Sales grew, but not as dramatically as profit. Sales for the nine months were up 12 percent, to $1.6 billion, versus $1.47 billion in the same period last year. The company said the increase in revenue was driven by global growth in truck sales. Allison transmissions go into heavy-duty work trucks and buses.

Allison, owned by two private-equity firms, disclosed the financial results this month in a statement to potential investors. The company has yet to price its shares.

Executives have not commented during the “quiet phase” leading up to the initial public offering, but they have updated the prospectus to include new market forecasts.

Allison cited ACT Research of Columbus, Ind., which predicts truck and bus sales will continue to grow but stay below the pre-recession average through 2013. J.D. Power and Associates expects commercial vehicle production in western Europe to grow during the same period.

Allison believes increases in global truck production, plus pent-up demand in North America, where fleet owners put off buying during the recession, will support its continued increases in sales.

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