Faurecia targets 2014 improvement after Asia-led gains

PARIS Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:12am EST

PARIS (Reuters) - French auto parts maker Faurecia's (EPED.PA) second-half profit rose thanks mainly to Asian demand and despite slower European growth and disappointing North American results.

The supplier of car interiors, exhausts and body parts, which is 51.7 percent-owned by troubled carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA), also pledged a further profit increase in 2014 as global auto production expands an estimated 3 percent in its results statement on Wednesday.

Second-half net income jumped to 53 million euros ($72 million) from 22 million on a 1.9 percent revenue gain to 8.764 billion, a "solid sales increase driven in particular by remarkable growth in Asia", Chief Executive Yann Delabriere said in the company statement.

Operating income rose to 282 million euros in the second half for a 3.2 percent operating margin, compared with 2.5 percent a year earlier - backed by positive net cash flow and 2-4 percent sales increase before currency effects.

Asian sales rose 22 percent in the second half with the operating margin rising to 9.1 percent from 8.3 percent.

Recovering European car output led to a "sharp improvement" in profitability to 3 percent from 2.4 percent, Faurecia said, while North America missed expectations.

Operating income in the region edged up to 36 million euros from 29 million, held back by costs and complications linked to a ramp-up in seating and interiors production.

A decline in the Brazilian real and Argentine peso also added to "very challenging" conditions in South America, where sales and profit fell in the second half, the company said.

For the full year 2014, Faurecia pledged to increase its margin by between 0.2 and 0.5 percentage points over the 3 percent recorded last year.

In November, the company had trimmed its mid-term 2016 goal to 21 billion euros in sales with a 4.5-5 percent operating margin, from 22 billion euros and 5 percent.

Net income for full-year 2013 came to 144 million euros on sales of 18.03 billion, broadly in line with analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters SmartEstimates data.

($1 = 0.7312 euros)

(Reporting by Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume. Editing by Andrew Callus)

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