Sweden's Autoliv says Europe worse, U.S. better than expected in Q3

STOCKHOLM, Sept 19 Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:18am EDT

STOCKHOLM, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Car safety equipment maker Autoliv said on Wednesday its market in Europe has so far been worse than anticipated in the third quarter, while the U.S. market has been better than expected.

The company, listed in both Sweden and the United States, in July reduced its forecasts for full-year 2012 sales and profitability after reporting second quarter earnings which just beat expectations.

Autoliv spokesman Mats Odman said U.S. listing rules prevented him from repeating the earlier company forecast for the third quarter, which was for a fall in consolidated sales of 3 percent and an operating margin of about 10 percent.

"The fact that we have not done anything (with the forecast) should be an answer to your question. Additionally, I am saying that it is worse in Europe, but better in the United States. Everyone can draw a reasonable conclusion about what that means," he said.

New car registrations fell 8.9 percent in the European Union, according to statistics from industry body ACEA, while the U.S. market has developed better than car industry bodies expected, Odman said.

"So there are both ups and downs, but these are difficult times in which to make predictions," he said.

He said car maker plant shutdowns in China due to a Japanese-China diplomatic dispute would have little impact as China was just 14 percent of total turnover.

Swedish steel maker SSAB earlier this week warned it would make a loss in the third quarter due to falling global demand.

(Reporting by Helena Söderpalm, editing by Patrick Lannin)