Faurecia First-Quarter Sales Rise 1.7% on Asian Expansion

Faurecia, Europe’s biggest maker of car interiors, said first-quarter revenue rose 1.7 percent as demand in North America and Asia helped offset the economic slowdown in Europe.

Sales advanced to 4.37 billion euros ($5.7 billion) from 4.3 billion euros a year earlier, the Nanterre, France-based manufacturer said in an e-mailed statement today.

Faurecia surged as much as 5 percent in Paris trading after the report, which showed sales outside Europe accounted for 45 percent of the quarterly total, up from 39 percent a year earlier. Chief Financial Officer Frank Imbert reiterated the company’s full-year forecast of a “neutral” cash flow excluding restructuring expenses of 120 million euros to 140 million euros.

The French auto-parts maker, 57 percent-owned by PSA Peugeot Citroen, plans to cut about 3,000 jobs in its home region, or 7.5 percent of the workforce, by the end of this year. Like its struggling parent and other carmakers in Europe, it needs to trim capacity and expand elsewhere as demand in Europe falls for the sixth straight year.

Faurecia said on Feb. 12 that vehicle sales in Europe may decline by 4 percent to 5 percent this year.

The French manufacturer’s shares rose as high as 12.75 euros and traded up 2 percent at 12.39 euros at 9:43 a.m. in Paris. Faurecia has gained 6.7 percent this year, valuing the company at 1.39 billion euros.

Peugeot, which is scheduled to report first-quarter revenue tomorrow, has sold assets to shore up its balance sheet as cash reserves dwindle, adding uncertainty over its continued ownership in the company.

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