Autoliv Q1 core profit lags, shares down 5%

Add CEO and analyst comments

STOCKHOLM, April 21 (Reuters) - Sweden's Autoliv ALV.N, ALIVsdb.ST, the world's largest maker of airbags and seatbelts, reported slightly weaker than expected growth in its first-quarter core earnings on Thursday whilst it maintained its full-year outlook.

Adjusted operating profit came to $131 million for the January-March quarter, up from $68 million a year ago but below the median forecast of $135 million in a Refinitiv poll of analyst.

While cost inflation from raw material prices has squeezed car industry suppliers including Autoliv's rivals ZF and Joyson Safety Systems, the Swedish company has said it was seeking to raise prices and that its operating margin would grow this year and next.

The Stockholm-listed shares fell 5% after the release of the report, before recovering slightly trading around 4% lower at 1121 GMT.

Handelsbanken analyst Hampus Engellau said the report came roughly in line with expectations.

"They (the shares) should be flat or maybe down 1% for the back of this," Engellau said.

The company's first-quarter adjusted operating profit margin stood at 5.3%, in line with the roughly 5% the company had previously targeted, while its full-year margin forecast of 8.5% to 9% was maintained.

Chief executive Mikael Bratt told Reuters in an interview that he was still confident in being able to meet its mid-term target of an adjusted operating margin of 12% in 2024.

"The operating margin impact of the strong sales growth was lower than it should be in the quarter," CEO Mikael Bratt said in a statement.

As production ramps up and stabilises, operating leverage is expected to improve, he added.

"Together with our actions for cost reductions and price adjustments, this will give the significant full-year profit improvement that we expect," Bratt said.

(Reporting by Marie Mannes, editing by Terje Solsvik and Louise Heavens)


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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