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Lear posts record sales, profits in second quarter

Lear Corp., which is building a new factory in Hammond, posted a record profit in in the second quarter.

Lear Corp., the auto supplier with a seat factory in Hammond, posted record sales and profits in the second quarter.

Southfield, Michigan-based Lear, which is building a new plant across from the South Shore Line station in East Chicago, grew sales by 9 percent to $5.6 billion in the second quarter. The company pulled in record net income of $331 million, up 6 percent from $312 million in the second quarter of the previous year.

The tier-one auto parts supplier grew core operating earnings by 7 percent to $471 million in the second quarter, another record. Lear delivered shareholders record earnings of $4.83 per share and record adjusted earnings of $4.95 per share, a 13 percent year-over-year increase.

"In the second quarter, we again delivered record sales and earnings while continuing to invest in product and process capabilities and launching a number of key programs," Lear President and CEO Ray Scott said.

"With industry-leading capabilities in seating and E-Systems that are aligned with industry trends and the convergence of our two segments, we are well-positioned for future growth. The entire Lear team is focused on delivering operational excellence, strong cash flow and superior returns to our shareholders."

Lear said it grew sales in the second quarter because of the addition of new business and through the acquisition of Grupo Antolin's seating business. Seating sales increased by 6 percent while E-Systems sales shot up by 19 percent.

The company brought in $346 million in free cash flow and $517 in net cash from operating activities. Lear also bought back 718,000 shares for $140 million during the second quarter and is looking to buy back as much as 10 percent of its current market capitalization.

Lear currently ranks 148 on the Fortune 500. The company plans to employ 875 workers at its new $30 million factory in Hammond, which supplies seats for Ford Explorers to Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.