February 1, 2018 / 9:05 AM / a year ago

Schaeffler to speed efficiency drive as 2017 profit drop

BERLIN, Feb 1 (Reuters) - German auto parts supplier Schaeffler said on Thursday it would accelerate a group-wide efficiency programme after underlying operating profit fell 6.8 percent last year.

Its Agenda 4 plus One strategy is designed to sharpen its customer focus and operational performance to boost competitiveness at Schaeffler, which makes ball bearings for products ranging from tools to airplanes.

“For 2018 we have decided to speed up the implementation of the programme,” Chief Executive Klaus Rosenfeld said on Thursday.

Schaeffler reported its full-year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) before special items fell to 1.58 billion euros ($1.96 billion) from 1.70 billion a year earlier.

Schaeffler said implementation of the transformation plan would impact earnings this year as well.

It sees group revenue rising by 5 to 6 percent this year, adjusted for currency fluctuations, after growing by 5.9 in 2017.

The EBIT margin before special items will come to between 10.5 and 11.5 percent, compared with 11.3 percent last year, it said. ($1 = 0.8044 euros) (Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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