* Faurecia profit rises on Asian demand
* Company says North America below expectations
* Targets 2014 margin gain on 2-4 pct sales growth
(Adds company and trader comments, details, background)
By Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume
PARIS, Feb 12 French auto parts maker Faurecia's
second-half profit rose on demand in Asia, which
outpaced weak North American results and a tentative recovery in
Europe, the company said on Wednesday.
The supplier of car interiors, exhausts and body parts
pledged a further profit increase in 2014 as global auto
production grows by an estimated 3 percent.
European suppliers have scrambled to refocus on
faster-growing markets as a six-year slump hurt business at
home. Faurecia, 51.7 percent-owned by PSA Peugeot Citroen
, has cut hundreds of European jobs to contain costs.
Second-half net income jumped by 141 percent to 53 million
euros ($72 million) on a 1.9 percent revenue gain to 8.764
billion, "driven in particular by remarkable growth in Asia",
Chief Executive Yann Delabriere said in the company statement.
Shares in the company were up 1.4 percent at 29.19 euros by
Asian sales rose 22 percent in the second half with the
operating margin rising to 9.1 percent from 8.3 percent. A
budding recovery in European car production also led to a "sharp
improvement" in regional profitability, the company said.
But the company said results missed expectations in North
America, where the supplier has been expanding.
"Clearly in North America we are not where we expected to
be," Delabriere told reporters and analysts in Paris.
Operating income in the region edged up to 36 million euros
from 29 million but was held back by costs and complications
linked to a ramp-up in seating and interiors production.
The planned closure of Faurecia's Bradford seat plant in
Central Ontario, Canada, will allow the company to "redeploy
production in the south of the U.S. and Mexico", the CEO said.
The company plans to close a total of eight seat frame
plants globally, sources told Reuters last year.
"We remain cautious about the pace of recovery in the U.S.,"
a Paris-based trader said.
Group operating income rose to 282 million euros for a 3.2
percent operating margin overall, compared with 2.5 percent a
A decline in the Brazilian real and Argentine peso also
compounded "very challenging" conditions in South America, where
second-half sales and profit fell, Faurecia said.
In November, the company had trimmed its mid-term 2016 sales
goal to 21 billion euros 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.
For the full year 2014, Faurecia pledged to increase its
operating margin by between 0.2 and 0.5 percentage points over
the 3 percent recorded last year - backed by positive net cash
flow and a 2-4 percent sales increase before currency effects.
(Editing by Andrew Callus and Greg Mahlich)