(Adds CEO quote, market reaction)
Nov 3 (Reuters) - Canadian automotive supplier Magna International Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by strong demand from Asia and Europe.
Magna said sales in Asia jumped 58 percent to $548 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, while European sales climbed 29 percent to $2.18 billion.
Sales in North America, which make up the bulk of Magna’s total sales, increased 13 percent to $4.84 billion. Magna’s shares rose 1.7 percent to C$54.66 in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Magna is primarily an auto parts supplier and also assembles cars under contract from motor vehicle manufacturers.
On a call with analysts and investors, Chief Executive Don Walker was asked about forecasts suggesting that vehicle production growth may slow in 2017.
“Our expectations are a little bit more muted than what they would have been eight or nine months ago in terms of production growth in the major markets that we operate (in),” he said. “Having said that, we’re still thinking that production is going to be flat or up in our most important markets, and continue to grow in China.”
Aurora, Ontario-based Magna counts General Motors Co, Volkswagen AG, BMW and Ford Motor Co among its biggest customers.
Net income from continuing operations rose to $514 million, or $1.29 per share, for the third quarter, from $469 million, or $1.13 per share a year earlier.
Analysts had expected $1.20 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total sales rose 15.5 percent to $8.85 billion. (Reporting by Vishaka George in Bengaluru and Allison Martell in Toronto; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and W Simon)