STUTTGART - Robert Bosch GmbH expects a 6 percent rise in automotive component sales in 1999, according to Chairman Herman Scholl.
Speaking at Bosch's annual financial press conference, Scholl also said group operating profits are expected to return to 1997 levels, when the company made DM2.8 billion (euro 1.4 billion, $1.5 billion. Group operating profits last year were DM1.8 billion, on group sales of 50.3 billion.
Automotive sales last year rose 11 percent to DM31.8 billion.
Bosch plans to increase investment in its automotive division by 12.5 percent to DM2.7 billion in 1999.
Strong starts to the year in North America and Europe have been offset by continuing weakness in Brazil and Asia, Scholl said.
He said most of the company's problem areas are now under control. Already this year Bosch has put its heavy-truck brake operations into a joint venture with Knorr Bremse, and its lighting operations into a joint venture with Magneti Marelli.
Long-time loss maker Blaupunkt is also improving, said Scholl. Blaupunkt is the mobile communications business of Bosch. Losses in 1998 were halved and the business is expected to break even in 1999.