DETROIT - Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by cost reductions and cheaper raw materials, and forecast global industry growth in 2010.

The third-quarter net profit came to $72 million, or 30 cents per share, compared with $31 million, or 13 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Goodyear posted earnings per share of 45 cents, while analysts on average had expected 40 cents on that basis, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue declined 15 percent to $4.4 billion. Analysts had expected $4.26 billion.

Goodyear, the largest U.S. tire maker, is in a long-term restructuring that is taking out excess production capacity worldwide to focus on more expensive tires that command higher profit margins.

The Akron, Ohio-based company reduced its global workforce by 300 positions in the third quarter, adding to about 5,500 reductions in the first half. That exceeds the company's full-year target of cutting 5,000 jobs.

Goodyear's North American business, its largest unit, reported a $2 million profit in the quarter, compared with a $19 million loss a year earlier. Sales fell 15 percent to $1.9 billion.

Sales in Europe were down 18 percent to $1.6 billion in the quarter, while operating income fell to $106 million, from $134 million a year earlier.

Goodyear's sales have come under pressure over the last year as U.S. auto production cuts reduce sales of tires to auto manufacturers and the downturn in the economy globally that has affected demand for replacement tires.

Goodyear shares were nearly up 2 percent at $17.05 from Tuesday's closing price of $16.74, in premarket trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Soyoung Kim, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Maureen Bavdek)