Autoliv raises 4Q sales and margin guidance

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2009 10:24 AM

Auto safety products maker Autoliv Inc. said Friday that it is raising its fourth quarter sales and margin guidance due to higher than expected demand from China and automakers rebuilding inventories. Its shares rose almost 5 percent.

Autoliv said it expects fourth quarter net sales to rise 35 percent over the same quarter last year. That was up from earlier forecasts of a 25 percent gain. Operating margins, previously expected to grow 7 percent, are now forecast to rise by at least 9 percent.

CEO Jan Carlson said that the increase in light vehicle sales in China and other emerging markets is larger than expected. Autoliv also believes that automakers need to build back up U.S. inventories after the government's Cash for Clunkers rebate program pushed up sales this summer.

Despite the stronger outlook, Autoliv still expects 2009 sales to be down more than 20 percent to around $5 billion due to the sharp decline in auto sales in the first half of the year. Restructuring charges are also expected to be higher for the year, between $120 million to $140 million. Autoliv previously said 2009 restructuring charges would be $100 million.

Autoliv makes safety products that include automotive air bags and seat belts.

Its U.S. shares rose $1.91, or 4.7 percent, to $42.37 in morning trading after climbing to a 52-week high of $43.21 earlier in the session.