Sweden's Autoliv cuts 2019 growth outlook again amid market slump

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s Autoliv, the world’s largest maker of airbags and seatbelts, on Friday made fresh cuts to its 2019 organic sales forecast citing a continued decline in global light vehicle production.

The car industry is in the throes of a deep slump, pressured by weak demand and a need to invest in and adapt to electric and self-driving technologies.

Only in the past few weeks, several auto suppliers have cautioned that they do not expect any material improvement to global car production in the coming years.

Autoliv, which competes with Joyson Safety Systems and ZF TRW, forecast organic sales growth of 1% for 2019, compared with its previous forecast for growth of 1-3%.

“We experienced continued challenging market conditions in the quarter,” Chief Executive Mikael Bratt said in a statement.

“We do not see an turnaround in light vehicle production in the near term,” he added.

Investors have already priced in much of the market slump in Autoliv’s valuation and its shares rose 1.7% following the results. Autoliv said it had shed another 800 staff in the quarter, adding that cost cuts were set to continue.

“With the current market conditions we can’t leave any stone unturned,” Bratt told Reuters.

The company reported a fall in third-quarter adjusted operating earnings to $183 million (£143 million) from $194 million a year earlier, lagging a $186 million forecast in a poll of 19 analysts collected by the company.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard