BERLIN -- German auto parts supplier Schaeffler expects its sales growth to accelerate this year after rising car demand and cost cuts helped push up revenues and profit in 2016.
Sales adjusted for currency effects will likely rise by between 4 and 5 percent in 2017, up from a rate of 3.4 percent last year, to around 13.3 billion euros ($14.3 billion), the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Growth at family-controlled Schaeffler has been mainly driven by its automotive business, which accounts for around three quarters of group revenue.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) edged up 1.4 percent to 1.70 billion euros in 2016, beating Thomson Reuters consensus for 1.68 billion and resulting in an EBIT margin before special items of 12.7 percent.
Schaeffler expects its margin to come to 12 to 13 percent this year. Free cash flow will likely decline to around 600 million euros from around 730 million seen in 2016.
The company, which joined Germany's mid-cap index last June and makes ball bearings for products ranging from tools to airplanes, expects growing investment in zero-emission technology to boost orders and lay the groundwork for profitable and sustainable growth.
Schaeffler is due to publish detailed annual results for 2016 on March 8.