Amberg, Germany - Automotive seating and interiors supplier Grammer AG raised its sales for the first half of 2007 by 9.8 percent to €491.9 million. A 6.8 percent rise in sales in the Q1 "was clearly exceeded in the second quarter with growth of 12.7 percent," the company emphasised.Europe and overseas areas showed particularly strong momentum for the maker of driver and passenger seats for truck, bus, and off-road vehicles and trains. Grammer improved its half-year sales by about 10.8 percent year-on-year in these regions. In the first half, earnings (EBIT) were almost at the level of the good H1 in 2006 at €24.3 million. In Q2, EBIT climbed overall to €14.2 million (prior year €12.0 million). Weaker results for Q1 from product run-downs and ramp-ups were almost entirely compensated, Grammer commented. Sales in Grammer's largest division, automotive, increased to €317.4 million from in the first six months of the year from €290.1 million in H1 2006. This represents growth of 9.4 percent. This trend was supported by good order volumes for series production vehicles such as the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Since the beginning of the year, Grammer has been equipping the new Mercedes middle-class model with crash-active headrests. In the first six months, EBIT in automotive was €11.3 million (€14.0 million for H1 2006). More than 70 percent of EBIT in the half year was generated in the second quarter. Grammer pointed out, adding that in Q2, earnings were up by 37.3 percent year-on-year. "At the same time, measures to improve profitability and cost efficiency will further improve the operating result of the segment on a sustained basis," the company commented.In its driver seats business, "excellent performance" continued, said Grammer. In H1, this business increased its sales to €153.3 million (H1 2006: €139.6 million). Strong growth here in Europe and overseas in particular, was "underpinned by the robust situation throughout the industry and the good order situation," Grammer commented. Segment EBIT was also up strongly, at €14.1 million (H1 2006: €12.5 million).In the first six months, Grammer increased sales in passenger seats by 33.0 percent to €28.3 million, primarily as a result of good orders for railway seating. Grammer said product ramp-ups and successful international acquisitions in Q1 were followed by "attractive new orders … in the second quarter." Profitability, however, lagged behind planning, with H1 EBIT in this, the smallest Grammer segment, at €0.7 million (H1 2006: € 0.6 million). In June, having disposed of its loss-making Italian subsidiary for bus seats, Grammer srl, the group also sold its European headquarters for this business.Grammer forecasts 2007 sales to be up to 7 percent higher than the previous year and expects stable growth in income. "In absolute terms, EBIT should be up on the figure for the previous year," Grammer said, but pointed out that this may be negatively affected by various factors, including "unfavourable currency developments and higher prices for steel and oil-based products such as plastics and foams."