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SKF Sees Fourth Quarter Profits Plunge

Market weak for largest ball-bearing maker

The world's biggest ball-bearing maker, SKF of Sweden, said its profits plunged in the last quarter of 2008 due to costly restructuring and predicted that demand would fall sharply this year. Net profits were down by a quarter to 819 million kronor (US$102 million) in the last three months of 2008.

This was due to the costs of a restructuring that saw 2,500 jobs cut, the company said.

Profits were stable at 4.74 billion kronor for the whole of 2008 -- "a very good year," said the group's chief executive Tom Johnstone.

"Demand in the sector nevertheless considerably weakened towards the end of the year," he added, predicting a continuing decline in the auto industry and a fall in demand for SKF's products in the first quarter of 2009.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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