STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- Airbag and seatbelt maker Autoliv Inc. reported record first-quarter profit figures, helped by strong production increases in key North American, European and Japanese markets.
The recovery boosted sales in the first three months of 2010 by a huge 86 percent year-on-year to $1.72 billion.
Pretax profit of $179 million was exactly in line with the mean forecast in a Reuters poll and was a swing from a $104 million loss in the first quarter of 2009.
Autoliv's outlook was for tamer growth.
"For the full year, sales are expected to improve by close to 30 percent with organic sales growing by approximately 20 percent. The indicative operating margin for the full year is at least 10 percent," the group said on Tuesday.
The operating margin forecast was close to the mean forecast in the Reuters poll, but below the first quarter's 11.4 percent.
For the second quarter, the company expects consolidated net sales to rise by more than 40 percent year-on-year, with organic sales up at least 30 percent and an operating margin of at least 11 percent.
The Sweden-based company benefited from restructuring steps begun in July 2008 as well as strong output rises in key North American, European and Japanese markets in the first quarter.
The group's previous forecast was for net sales to grow by 15 to 20 percent for the whole year and for the operating margin to be in line with its long-term target of 8 to 9 percent.
Underlying the picture of easing output gains, Autoliv cited industry research body CSM as forecasting that light vehicle production would rise 21 percent in the second quarter year-on-year, but fall 4 percent quarter-on-quarter.
For the year as a whole CSM saw gains of 15 percent year-on-year, but quarterly declines versus the first quarter's high levels, Autoliv said.