Chicago-based truck maker Navistar International Corp. is betting that it can return to profitability by the second quarter of 2001, which ends April 30, despite the softening demand for new trucks in the United States.

In a press release, Navistar chairman, president and CEO John Horne said the company would return to profitability despite reporting losses for its last two fiscal quarters. One reason for Horne’s confidence is that Navistar recorded an operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2001, but a $306 million restructuring charge wiped those gains out.

“As I have said before, we have made fundamental changes in the way we do business and while we can’t control business conditions, we can control how we respond,” he said.

Horne added that cost reduction efforts taken last year should pay dividends in 2001 and return Navistar to profitability, despite continued weakness in new- and used-truck pricing and shipments. He said Navistar expects to report second quarter earnings of approximately $0.05 cents per share.

Horne noted the company continues to build for the future by focusing on reducing costs through process improvements, management of cash, balancing production with industry demand and a series of new product launches over the next two years.