February 23, 2012 / 10:13 PM / in 6 years

Magna profit climbs on strong sales growth

TORONTO (Reuters) - Magna International Inc (MG.TO) (MGA.N), one of the world’s biggest auto parts manufacturers, reported a big jump in quarterly earnings on Thursday that easily beat analysts’ expectations as vehicle production soared in North America.

Magna said fourth-quarter profit rose to $312 million, or $1.32 a share, compared with earnings of $224 million, or 89 cents a share, in the year-before quarter.

Analysts had expected earnings of $1.02 a share and revenue of $7.19 billion in the quarter ended December 31, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose to $7.3 billion, the Aurora, Ontario-based company said. Vehicle production increased 15 percent in North America from the year-before quarter, but declined 4 percent in Europe.

Improvements in European operations and the launch of new facilities around the world remains a focus for 2012, the company said.

Reporting By Susan Taylor; editing by Rob Wilson and Peter Galloway

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