Delphi Says Investment-Grade Rating May Come in a Year

April 24 (Bloomberg) -- Delphi Automotive Plc, the former parts unit of General Motors Co., said it may earn an investment-grade rating in about 12 months.

“Our metrics are investment grade,” Chief Financial Officer Kevin Clark said in an interview. “We’ll continue to perform and put up some good numbers and pay down some amount of debt and that investment-grade rating should come with it.”

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services on March 16 raised its corporate credit rating on Delphi to BB+, the highest non-investment grade.

“My estimate, and I probably should say it’s really a guesstimate, is that it’s roughly a year out from today” to achieve an investment-grade rating, Clark said. “We don’t control that.”

Delphi, based in Troy, Michigan, said today that first-quarter profit rose 18 percent to $342 million, or $1.04 a share, from $291 million, or 42 cents. Sales increased 2.4 percent to $4.09 billion.

Profit this year will be $3.63 to $3.85 a share, Delphi said today. In January, it forecast profit of $3.44 to $3.69 a share. The average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a full-year profit of $3.71 a share.

The company, registered in Gillingham, U.K., returned to profitability in 2010 after cutting costs and focusing on selling fuel-injection systems and other car parts in faster-growing countries such as China.

Delphi fell 4.1 percent to $30.22 at the close in New York, the biggest drop since March 6.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Clothier in New York at mclothier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net