PARIS Feb 22 French auto parts maker Valeo said profit dropped 11 percent last year despite record orders for its fuel-saving and safety technologies.
The Paris-based company pledged to maintain profitability in 2013 despite an expected 4 percent decline in European auto production after net income fell to 380 million euros ($502 million) in 2012.
Sales rose 8.2 percent to 11.8 billion euros last year on record orders, the company said, reiterating its medium-term goal of exceeding a 7 percent operating margin.
Full-year operating profit rose 3 percent to 725 million euros, for a 6.2 percent margin, a level Valeo said it expects to sustain this year as global auto production edges up a forecast 1 percent.
Valeo said it would propose a dividend of 1.50 euros per share, up 7 percent on last year's payout. ($1 = 0.7563 euros) (Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Laurence Frost; Editing by James Regan)