July 30, 2013 / 11:49 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 2-TRW posts stronger-than-expected profit, hikes sales outlook

DETROIT, July 30 (Reuters) - Auto parts supplier TRW Automotive Holdings Corp posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday due to increased demand for cars and trucks in North America and China, and boosted its full-year sales outlook.

TRW also said it saw “early signs of stabilization” in Europe, and raised its full-year vehicle production expectations for North America and Europe.

The company, which makes braking systems, seat belts and airbags, reported net earnings of $248 million, or $1.99 per share, for the second quarter, up from $220 million, or $1.71 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, TRW earned $2.02 per share. On that basis, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected, on average, $1.69.

Revenue was $4.5 billion, topping analysts’ forecast for $4.34 billion.

TRW said it expects 2013 sales of $16.8 billion to $17 billion, up from an April forecast of $16.6 billion to $16.9 billion. For the third quarter it expects revenue of $4.1 billion, in line with analysts’ expectations.

TRW said it expects full-year auto industry production of 16.1 million vehicles in North America, up slightly from its earlier expectations of 16 million.

In Europe, the company expects industry production of 18.6 million vehicles, an increase from its forecast of 18.4 million in April.

Still, in a conference call with investors, TRW Chief Executive John Plant said the company was cautious about European sales in the second half.

“Just because we’ve had one quarter without Europe going down, I don’t think that’s a trend,” Plant said, adding that the European market is still a “major concern.”

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, TRW said an antitrust investigation by the European Commission was “ongoing.”

“While we cannot estimate the ultimate financial impact of the European investigation at this time, we will continue to evaluate developments in this matter on a regular basis and will record an accrual as and when appropriate,” it said.

In late-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, TRW’s stock was up nearly 5 percent at $72.71.

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