January 13, 2016 / 12:50 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 2-Canada's Magna expects total sales to rise 10-11 pct in 2016

(Recasts with focus on total sales; adds comments from CFO, analyst)

Jan 13 (Reuters) - Canada’s Magna International Inc said Wednesday it expected total sales to rise an estimated 10 to 11 percent this year, helped by recent acquisitions including that of German transmission parts maker Getrag.

Magna said it expects total sales of between $34.6 billion and $36.3 billion in 2016, up from an estimated $31.3 billion to $32.6 billion in November 2015.

Magna Chief Financial Officer Vince Galifi said the company would be open to making future acquisitions, even as it expects Getrag to generate stronger sales for Magna through 2018, especially in Asia.

“We expect to continue to pursue M&A opportunities,” he told analysts.

Galifi and Magna CEO Don Walker were speaking at the Deutsche Bank 2015 Global Auto Industry Conference in Detroit.

The Aurora, Ontario-based company, which also assembles vehicles under contract, said it expected capital spending of $1.8 billion to $2.0 billion in the year ahead, compared with an estimated $1.5 billion last year.

Magna said its operating margin was likely to be in the high 7-percent range.

The company had said in November it expected an operating margin of 7.7 percent in 2015.

In a note to clients, Canaccord Genuity analyst David Tyerman said Magna’s 2016 and 2018 guidance “appears only slightly lower than our expectations.”

Tyerman had estimated an operating margin of 8.3 percent.

Magna, whose customers include General Motors Co, Volkswagen AG, BMW and Ford Motor Co , said in November that operational problems at three of its North American plants would spill into the first half of 2016.

Problems at the metalforming plants, two in Canada and one in the U.S., continued to generate losses during the fourth quarter, but should be corrected by year’s end, the company said.

Magna said it expected total sales of $34.6 billion to $36.3 billion this year. In November, the company forecast 2015 sales of $31.3 billion to $32.6 billion.

Galifi said the company is looking at strategies to grow in new technologies such as driver assistance features popular in the burgeoning connected car market.

“We do want to be bigger in the area,” he said. “It’s a very active discussion internally.”

Magna shares traded 1.86 percent higher at C$51.50 in early afternoon trading in Toronto. (Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru and Allison Lampert in Montreal; editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Ted Kerr and G Crosse)

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