By Charlotte Eyre, European Plastics news
Nanterre, France -- Faurecia, Europe's biggest maker of car interiors and exhausts, posted a 43 percent drop in net profit for the first half of the year, after the region's automotive production slid 6 percent.
The France-based company says net income totalled Euro120 million ($147 million) in the first six months of 2012, compared to Euro185.8 million for the same period last year.
Operating profit decreased 11.7 percent to Euro185.8 million.
Despite an overall increase of 3.8 percent in like-for-like sales, product sales in Europe fell 4.6 percent to Euro4 billion due to the downturn in European production.
Net debt rose 15 percent to Euro1.5 billion.
However the trading picture beyond Europe was brighter; sales outside the region - which accounted for 41 percent of the total - increased 29 percent.
The group's North American sales were up to 38.5 percent to Euro1.7 billion, while in Asia sales increased 28.2 percent to Euro 350.7 million.
By product segment, Faurecia's interior systems business achieved sales of Euro 1733.7 million, up 9.5 percent, or 3.5 percent at constant exchange rates and scope, which the company said is the result of rapid growth in North America (+45 percent declared and +21 percent like-for-like).
In automotive seating, Faurecia's sales were Euro 2558.1 million, up 4.4 percent. A drop in European sales was countered by growth outside Europe.
In automotive exteriors, sales reached Euro 801.3 million, up 5.3 percent at constant exchange rates and scope. This business only started selling internationally in 2012 and currently carries out 95 percent of its business in Europe. It is developing this year in North America with the new Belvidere plant (Illinois), and in South America with three plants under construction, said Faurecia.
On the back of its latest numbers Faurecia has downgraded its full-year profit outlook from Euro 610 million-Euro 670 million to Euro 560 million-Euro 610 million.