Continental affirms 2013 outlook after "difficult" Q1

Fri May 3, 2013 2:43am EDT

* Q1 adj EBIT 796.2 mln euros vs 888.7 mln euros year-ago

* Q2 business "has regained momentum" -CEO

* Q1 oper margin 10 pct, FY margin should stay above 10 pct

BERLIN, May 3 (Reuters) - Continental AG stuck with its full-year sales and profit targets as second-quarter business at the German auto parts and tyre maker picked up following a "difficult" start to the year.

The Hanover, Germany-based company expects sales to increase by about 5 percent to more than 34 billion euros ($44.5 billion) as global production of passenger cars may accelerate.

The first-quarter operating profit margin stood at 10 percent and should stay above that level for the full year, after 10.8 percent in 2012, Continental said.

"The first three months of this year were difficult," Chief Executive Elmar Degenhart said in a statement. "However, our business has already regained momentum."

First-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) declined to 796.2 million euros from 888.7 million a year earlier, but was still a tad above a 795 million-euro consensus forecast in a Reuters survey.

($1 = 0.7649 euros) (Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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