* Forecasts 2013 total sales of $31.3 bln to $32.7 bln
* Expects 2013 operating margin in mid-5 pct range
* Sees 2013-2015 production sales growth of $2.2 bln
* Shares up 0.5 pct to C$51.44 on TSX
By Susan Taylor
TORONTO Jan 16 Canadian auto parts manufacturer
Magna International Inc forecast stronger 2013 sales and
profit margins on Wednesday, reflecting gains from fast-growth
markets such as China and Brazil.
Magna, one of the world's largest parts makers with some 286
plants in 26 countries, has pushed expansion outside its core
markets of North America and Europe to take advantage of lower
operating costs and stronger demand.
"Our outlook reflects the progress we are making in
expanding Magna's business outside of out traditional markets,"
Chief Executive Officer Don Walker said in a statement.
For 2013, the company sees sales of $31.3 billion to $32.7
billion, above its forecast for 2012 full-year sales of $30.3
billion to $31.2 billion.
Analysts expect 2013 sales of $31.87 billion, on average,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Canaccord Genuity analyst David Tyerman said the 2013
guidance is roughly in line with his expectations, but a
mid-term forecast was modestly disappointing.
Magna estimates production sales growth of $2.2 billion
between 2013 and 2015, lagging Tyerman's estimate of a $2.9
The Aurora, Ontario-based company also said the U.S.
Department of Justice has ended an antitrust investigation
without taking any action. The probe related to its auto tooling
The company, which competes with Johnson Controls Inc
and TRW Automotive Holding Corp, sees its 2013
operating margin in the mid-5 percent range.
Total production sales in 2013 are estimated at $26.5
billion to $27.5 billion, above a 2012 forecast of $25.5 billion
to $26.1 billion. Production sales are Magna's core business of
manufacturing vehicle parts and exclude its smaller vehicle
assembly and tooling operations.
Capital spending in 2013 is expected to remain flat, at
about $1.4 billion this year.
Magna said it expects 2015 light vehicle production volumes
of about 16.7 million units in North America and 12.8 million
units in western Europe.
An anticipated 70 percent increase in North American
production sales and 40 percent climb in the rest of world will
be offset by a 10 percent decline in Europe, the company said.
Magna, which has been trying to turn around European
operations after a string of money-losing quarters, surprised
markets in the first quarter with profitable operations there.
Restructuring is expected to drive continued improvement in
European financial results, Walker said in a statement.
Shares in Magna, which have surged about 25 percent in the
past year as earnings improved, rose 26 Canadian cents to
C$51.44 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
The company's controversial founder Frank Stronach, an
Austro-Canadian billionaire, has launched a eurosceptic Austrian
political party after stepping down from the board in November.