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STOCKHOLM, April 23 (Reuters) - Sweden's Autoliv ALIVsdb.STALV.N, the world's largest producer of airbags and seatbelts, reported higher than expected quarterly earnings on Friday and strong sales growth across all its regions.
Autoliv, which rivals ZF and Joyson Safety Systems, said that although the pandemic was still affecting it in some ways, organic, or like-for-like, sales growth reached 17.9% in the first quarter.
The company added that a global shortage of materials, including semiconductors, had limited light vehicle production.
"And we expect this situation to continue in the second and third quarter of this year," Chief Executive Mikael Bratt said in a statement.
Autoliv said in January that the semiconductor shortage, which has impacted vehicle makers across the world, could have a negative impact on car production in the first half of 2021, while not directly affecting the company.
Shares in the manufacturer, up more than 13% so far this year, rose 4.6% at 1027 GMT.
Autoliv reported a first-quarter operating profit of $237 million compared with a $134 million profit in the year-ago quarter and a mean forecast of $201 million based on a poll of analysts published by the company.
Autoliv kept its forecast for around 20% organic sales growth and an adjusted operating margin of about 10% in 2021, adding it now expected 23% net sales growth versus a previous forecast of 25%.
(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; editing by Niklas Pollard)
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