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J.L. French Automotive Castings Announces Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

J.L. French Automotive Castings has reported fourth-quarter revenues of $130.3 million for the period which ended December 31, 2003, compared to $136.7 million in the 2002 period.

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MINNEAPOLIS — J.L. French Automotive Castings has reported fourth-quarter revenues of $130.3 million for the period which ended December 31, 2003, compared to $136.7 million in the 2002 period.

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Operating income before the impact of restructuring and impairment charges, loss on sale of business and loss on early retirement of debt was $15.5 million versus $14.7 million in the prior-year quarter. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) before restructuring and impairment charges, loss on sale of business assets, loss on early retirement of debt and loss contract reserve reversals was $26.5 million, or 20.4 percent of sales, in the fourth quarter of 2003 compared to $25.4 million, or 18.6 percent of sales, in the 2002 period. Cash interest expense was $16.1 million, up from $12.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2002 as a result of higher weighted average interest rates and debt levels in the 2003 period.

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During the fourth quarter of 2003, the company recorded restructuring and impairment charges of $1.8 million, which primarily represents expenses associated with the Grandville, MI., facility, which was closed in the second quarter of 2003 and certain charges of $0.8 million related to the restructuring of its United Kingdom operations. In the fourth quarter of 2002, the company recorded a restructuring charge of $21.3 million related to the closure of the Grandville, MI, facility.

For the year ended December 31, 2003, revenues were $521.1 million, a decrease of $29.4 million compared to 2002. EBITDA before the impact of restructuring and impairment charges, loss on sale of business assets, loss on early retirement of debt and loss contract reserve reversals decreased to $93.6 million, or 18.0 percent of sales, in 2003 compared to $95.0 million, or 17.3 percent of sales, in 2002. As a result of the higher weighted average interest rates and debt levels in 2003, cash interest expense increased to $60.2 million versus $48.9 million for 2002. During 2003, the company recorded non-cash income of $0.6 million related to exchange rate fluctuations on debt denominated in foreign currencies.

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Restructuring and impairment charges for the year ended December 31, 2003 totaled $106.4 million and consisted of $96.0 million write-off of goodwill related to the Sheboygan and Spain reporting units in the third quarter, $4.9 million write-down of assets at the Saltillo, Mexico facility, $2.2 million write-down of assets of the UK operations, and $3.3 million in restructuring costs.

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