STOCKHOLM -- Autoliv, the world's biggest maker of airbags and seat belts, reported a 21 percent rise in quarterly earnings but said it expected flat sales in the final three months of the year.
Third-quarter operating income rose to $191 million from $158 million a year, the Swedish supplier said in a statement.
CEO Jan Carlson said quarterly results were helped by strong growth in Europe and China. Light vehicle production growth in China "was stronger than expected while Europe continues to see high vehicle production levels," he said in the statement. In the U.S. the monthly vehicle sales figures continue to indicate a slowdown in the market, Carlson said.
Autoliv forecasts flat organic sales after a 6.1 percent rise in the third quarter. It said the fourth-quarter decline would be mainly due to fewer working days. It also forecast its adjusted operating margin would rise to more than 9 percent in the last quarter from 8.1 percent in the preceding three months.
"The historically high order intake continued and we are gaining future market share beyond our previous expectations," the company said.
Autoliv kept its sales and margin guidance for the full year unchanged,
Autoliv has been growing sales as carmakers move to replace millions of airbag inflators made by Japan's Takata in the biggest recall to strike the auto industry, as well as winning new business.
But the booming demand has also left it needing to ramp up investments to accommodate the expanding order intake that is seen boosting sales mainly as of 2018, putting pressure on profitability in the short term.
Autoliv ranks No. 25 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $9.17 billion in 2015.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report