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TRW Launches SPR4 Seat Belt

Zacks Equity Research

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (TRW) announced the launch of next-generation pyrotechnical seat belt pretensioner known as SPR4 (Snake Pretensioner Retractor). SPR4 will provide a cost-effective and lightweight package to the worldwide customers. It is being launched in North America, Europe and China.

The SPR4 is equipped with plastic piston instead of conventional metal components, which assists in transferring tensioning torque more quickly. It offers simpler and lighter weight design together with compact packaging. SPR4 is based on TRW’s proven 4.0 seat belt retractor design and uses a green gas pyrotechnic gas generator.

With the activation of the seat belt system a pyrotechnical gas generator is ignited, which releases a gas. The gas then expands and generates pressure in the guiding tube. The pressure then acts on the plastic piston and is pushed to the pinion. The pinion transmits significant torque to the belt retractor spool to pre-tension the seat belt. It only takes 10 milliseconds to complete the whole process.

TRW Automotive is a leading manufacturer of advanced technology products and services for the automotive markets. Headquartered in Michigan, U.S., the company operates in 27 countries through its subsidiaries.

These operations primarily involve the design, manufacture and sale of active and passive safety related products. Currently, the company retains a Zacks Rank #3 on its stock, which translates to a Hold rating for the short-term (1 to 3 months).

The company’s major customers include Ford Motor Co. (F), General Motors Company (GM) and Volkswagen AG (VLKAY). They account for nearly 50% of its sales.

TRW posted earnings of $1.51 per share in the first quarter of 2013, topping the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.46. However, earnings fell 6.8% from $1.62 per share in the first quarter of 2012 due to lower operating income on the back of a higher mix of lower margin business and planned increases in costs to support future growth.

Revenues in the quarter were almost flat at $4.2 billion as the impact of increasing demand for TRW’s innovative technologies and higher vehicle production volumes in China were offset by significantly lower vehicle production in Europe.

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