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LEAR PLANS PLANT CLOSINGS

Auto interiors-maker Lear Corp. said it plans to close some plants this year and move them to other countries on the heels of some of the toughest times ever for the auto industry.

No specific plant closings were announced. Business at Lear should gradually improve in the second half of 2005, and in the next two years, executives said Friday.

Also Friday, Lear reported first-quarter earnings of $15.6 million, or 23 cents per share, down from $91.4 million, or $1.24 last year. Excluding a tax gain due to a law change in Poland, Lear lost 3 cents a share in the quarter.

Sales fell to $4.42 billion from $4.49 billion last year.

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