Sharp fall in earnings for ball bearings giant

Swedish ball bearing manufacturing SKF on Wednesday reported a 77 percent drop in earnings for the second quarter, blaming weak sales and restructuring costs.

Net profit in the April-June period came to 314 million kronor ($40.2 million) against 1.34 billion kronor in second quarter 2008.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had foreseen a profit figure of 348 million kronor for the world’s largest ball bearing maker.

SKF said it had detected “signs of a levelling off” in the sales slump and predicted that demand would be “relatively unchanged” in the third quarter.

Second quarter sales fell 12 percent from same period last year to 14.2 billion kronor.

The company, which said it had reduced its payroll by 3,800 people since the third quarter of 2008, announced an additional 900 job cuts at the end of June in Sweden, France, Britain and India.

SKF put the second-quarter costs linked to the job cuts at 480 million kronor.

At the end of June, the company employed nearly 42,000 people worldwide.

SKF shares were showing a gain of 1.3 percent at 98.25 kronor in mid-morning trade on an overall market that was 0.7 percent.

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