Magna forecasts higher 2012 sales, shares rise

Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:26pm EST
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By Nicole Mordant

(Reuters) - Auto parts maker Magna International Inc (MG.TO: Quote) forecast a modest rise in its 2012 sales on Wednesday, lifting its hard-hit stock, as it predicted higher vehicle production in North America and expansion in fast-growing emerging markets.

Hurt by sluggish economic growth in North America and Europe, the Canadian company has been aggressively expanding outside its traditional markets into emerging regions such as China and Brazil.

"Going out to 2014, 20 percent of our sales will be in relatively new market areas for us: in Asia, South America and Central and Eastern Europe," Chief Executive Don Walker said at an auto industry conference in Detroit.

Walker said Magna was in the process of launching 40 new facilities between 2012 and 2014, mostly in emerging markets.

The company is the biggest manufacturer of auto parts in North America, where its top customers are the "Big Three" Detroit automakers. It is also one of the biggest auto parts suppliers in Europe.

Releasing its outlook for 2012, Magna said earlier on Wednesday that it expects total annual sales to rise to between $27.8 billion and $29.3 billion.

That was in line with analysts forecasts and compares with a sales forecast for 2011 of $25.6 billion to $27.1 billion.

Magna also forecast production sales for 2012 of between $23.6 billion and $24.7 billion for 2012. That is split between expected North American production sales of $13.2 billion-$13.7 billion, European sales of $8.4 billion-$8.7 billion and the rest of the world sales of between $2.0 billion and $2.3 billion.   Continued...