* Says currency, investment weighing on margin
* Sees headwinds carrying into 2014
* Sees strong sales growth in Q4
* Shares fall by more than 6 pct
STOCKHOLM, Oct 24 Autoliv ,
the world's top maker of seat belts and airbags, forecast a
strong fourth quarter for sales but said currency headwinds and
higher investments meant this would not translate into a similar
boost in profitability.
The company, a supplier to all leading global car
manufacturers, said these headwinds along with an unfavourable
product mix were seen continuing in next year, sending its
shares down 6.2 percent by 1059 GMT.
"These challenges in combination with our continued
investments within Active Safety will continue to put pressure
on our margins also in 2014," the company said.
Pretax profit at the Sweden-based manufacturer rose to $177
million in the third quarter from $175 million a year ago to
come in ahead of the $167 million seen in a Reuters poll of nine
"The comment the market has caught on to is that capacity
adjustments in the European organisation and heavy investment in
Active Safety will result in a some margin headwind next year as
well," Handelsbanken analysts Hampus Engellau said.
"Those who thought margins would be cranked up next year,
they are disappointed."
But if the outlook for profitability was gloomy, the picture
was rosier in regard to sales.
The company, whose top customers include Volkswagen
, General Motors and Ford, was more
upbeat on sales, forecasting a rise of at least 9 percent in the
fourth quarter, stripped of currency swings and acquisitions.
The strong growth toward year-end, underpinned by demand in
China and within Active Safety -- technology that allows a car
to independently avoid accidents -- meant the company raised its
full-year sales growth outlook to 5 percent from 4 percent.
It also affirmed its guidance for a full-year operating
margin of about 9 percent, excluding costs stemming from ongoing
anti-trust probes and costs for capacity alignments, with
profitability seen at the same level during the fourth quarter.