May 7, 2015 / 1:38 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. demand drives Canadian auto parts maker Magna's sales beat

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May 7 (Reuters) - Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly sales, helped by demand in the United States.

Magna also raised its full-year operating margin forecast on Thursday. The company sold much of its vehicle interiors business, typically a lower-margin business, to Spain’s Grupo Antolin in April.

U.S. auto sales rose in the first three months of the year, helped by low gasoline prices and easier availability of credit.

Magna’s quarterly sales, however, were hurt by a strong dollar as the company gets nearly half of its total revenue from outside North America.

The dollar has surged 19 percent against a basket of major currencies in the past 12 months, making sales denominated in other currencies less valuable in dollar terms.

Magna said it expected 2015 operating margin to be in the high-7 percent range. The company said in February that operating margin was expected to be in the low- to mid-7 percent range.

Magna also cut its 2015 sales forecast to $30.8 billion-$32.5 billion from $33.1 billion-$34.8 billion.

Net income attributable to the company rose 18 percent to $465 million, or $1.12 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31.

Revenue fell 7 percent to $8.33 billion. Magna said a strong dollar reduced sales by about $880 million.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.10 per share and revenue of $8.31 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Aurora, Ontario-based Magna’s shares rose about 2 percent to C$64.90 in opening trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Up to Wednesday’s close, the stock had risen 20 percent in the past 12 months. (Reporting by Allison Martell and Shubhankar Chakravorty; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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