Remy International reports smaller first-quarter profit

Remy International Inc. saw its sales fall slightly and profit plummet in the first quarter as it paid down debt, invested in hybrid motor development and coped with a weak European market.

The Pendleton-based company reported a profit of $8.7 million on revenue of $293.1 million, compared to a profit of $18.4 million on revenue of $306.4 million during the same period a year earlier.

During the most recent quarter, the company said it inked a supply agreement with hybrid-vehicle integrator Enova and secured a hybrid contract with a major North American commercial transmission supplier that it did not name.

Remy also paid down $7.8 million of long-term debt (leaving $233 million in net debt), declared a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share payable May 21, and hired veteran executive Mark McFeely, who previously led divisions at Honeywell and Pacific Scientific Aerospace, as its new chief operating officer.

The results improved over the fourth quarter despite "weakness in the European market and softening in the U.S. aftermarket segment," Remy Chief Financial Officer Fred Knechtel said in a statement.

"We made significant investments to support hybrid development, new product launches, growth initiatives, develop and protect our intellectual property and improve supply chain cost," Knechtel noted. "We will continue to make these investments throughout the years."

The company's earnings report did not update the status of Remy's planned initial public offering, and a company spokesman did not return a phone call or e-mail Thursday morning.

Remy, the former General Motors Co. unit that exited bankruptcy in 2007, filed plans in March 2011 to raise up to $100 million through an IPO. Last year, company officials said they were continuing to evaluate the market’s receptiveness to the offering.

Remy manufactures starter motors, alternators and hybrid electric motors for consumer and commercial vehicles.

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