Autoliv says weak European car market will dent first-quarter sales
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- Autoliv said its sales in the first quarter of 2013 were likely to fall 4 percent due to weak European car markets.
The Swedish supplier relies for about 30 percent of its sales on Europe, where new registrations fell in 2012 to their lowest since 1995 and production also sank. In contrast, North American output rose, Autoliv said.
The company said that light vehicle production is also expected to decline sharply in the first three months in western Europe to levels not seen since the financial crisis in 2008-2009.
"As a result, Autoliv's organic sales are expected to decline by 4 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same quarter of 2012," it added.
For the full year, the supplier expects a rise in organic sales, which strips out acquisitions and currency changes, of 1 percent to 3 percent, less than the 4 percent growth in 2012.
Autoliv sees its operating profit margin at about 8 percent in the first quarter, and around 9 percent for the year, which would be below the 9.7 percent for 2011.
The profit margin forecasts exclude costs for scaling back or changing production to meet demand as well as ongoing antitrust investigations, including one in South Korea. Capacity alignment costs for 2013 are expected to reach at least $25 million but not to exceed $50 million, the company said.
Q4 profit down
Pretax profit for the fourth quarter of 2012 fell to $170 million from $211 million in the same period of 2011.
Autoliv is the world's biggest maker of car safety equipment such as seat belts and airbags.
Autoliv ranks No. 19 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers, with sales to automakers of $3.1 billion in 2011.