4 Min Read
* Revenue up 1.9 pct to 13.29 bln euros
* Deliveries up 7.6 percent to 725,917 vehicles
* Better numbers contrast with Renault revenue slide
* Shareholders meeting approves Dongfeng tie-up (Updates with AGM votes through rescue resolutions)
By Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume
PARIS, April 25 (Reuters) - French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen posted a rise in quarterly revenue as a recovering European market came to its aid, lifting sales and helping it to withstand stiff currency headwinds elsewhere.
Peugeot's top line improved by 1.9 percent to 13.29 billion euros ($18.4 billion), the company said in a statement on Friday, as global deliveries advanced 7.6 percent to 725,917 vehicles.
The carmaker said the stronger numbers were supported by the European market upturn and strong China sales and improved its prospects for a turnaround. They also could help attract investors to Peugeot's planned 3 billion euro rights issue.
"It's been a very positive quarter that has allowed the group to return to revenue growth," Chief Financial Officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said.
The revenue upturn "reinforces the turnaround prospects we have presented", he told reporters on a conference call.
Peugeot's new Chief Executive Carlos Tavares last week outlined plans to halt the group's losses by 2016 and return the manufacturing business to an operating margin of 2 percent in 2018 and 5 percent five years later.
The group's dependence on Europe for about 60 percent of sales has hurt performance throughout the region's six-year market slump, but now offers some protection from an emerging-market currency slide as demand picks up at home.
The improved quarterly numbers contrast with the 0.1 percent revenue decline reported last Thursday by domestic rival Renault , which is more competitive in emerging markets but more exposed to their fluctuations.
"PSA's first-quarter results this morning showed stronger growth than at Renault," London-based ISI Group analyst Erich Hauser said in a note. "Europe is coming back strongly and the model cycle is supportive."
Both French carmakers, like many European industrial peers, are suffering as overseas revenue is converted back into euros from weakening local currencies such as the Brazilian real, Argentinian peso and Russian rouble.
Peugeot's 7.6 percent rise in global deliveries was led by gains of 16 percent in Europe and 18.3 percent in China, while its Russian and Latin American sales fell.
The gains in Europe and China helped to overcome currency headwinds that reduced automotive revenue by 4.5 percent, the company said.
Peugeot reiterated its turnaround goals as well as a 3 percent European market growth forecast for 2014, without giving any full-year sales objectives of its own.
The group's European passenger car sales rose 7.5 percent in the quarter, according to industry data published earlier this month, broadly in step with the market's expansion.
Shareholders on Friday also approved a three billion euro capital increase that will give China's Dongfeng and the French state each a 14 percent stake in Peugeot, on par with the founding Peugeot family.
They also backed a four-year mandate for Louis Gallois, the French civil servant has replaced Thierry Peugeot as chairman under the plan, with a 97 percent vote in favour. ($1 = 0.7236 Euros) (Reporting by Laurence Frost; editing by Jane Baird)