Schaeffler Profit Falls on Industrial-Component Division

Schaeffler AG, the industrial-bearing maker that’s the biggest owner of car-parts producer Continental AG, said third-quarter profit fell 14 percent as manufacturers withheld purchases amid doubts about the economy.

Earnings before interest and taxes dropped to 314 million euros ($420 million) from 364 million euros a year earlier, Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Schaeffler said today in a statement. Sales rose 1.5 percent to 2.81 billion euros.

Gross domestic product of the 17 nations sharing the euro probably rose just 0.1 percent in the quarter, with growth slowing in Germany and stalling in France, and Italy mired in a slump, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Earnings plunged 60 percent at Schaeffler’s industrial division in the period, versus 4.6 percent growth at the auto-parts unit.

“Recovery of demand in the industrial sectors is not expected over the fourth quarter of 2013, particularly not in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region,” the company said.

Family-owned Schaeffler ousted Chief Executive Officer Juergen Geissinger a month ago, giving Chief Financial Officer Klaus Rosenfeld the top post on an interim basis, after plans to combine with Hanover, Germany-based Continental failed. Schaeffler became Continental’s largest shareholder when a takeover bid backfired amid the global recession of 2008, leaving the bearing producer with more of 90 percent of Continental’s shares and debt exceeding 10 billion euros.

Continental Stake

Schaeffler, jointly owned by Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler and her son Georg F. W. Schaeffler, has since reduced its holding in Continental, Europe’s second-biggest maker of automotive components, to 46 percent.

Full-year Ebit will amount to about 13 percent of sales, excluding currency effects and the cost of scaling back production in Schweinfurt and Wuppertal, Germany, Schaeffler said today. The nine-month adjusted-Ebit margin stood at 12.9 percent. The previous forecast was for an Ebit margin of 13 percent on revenue growth of 1 percent to 2 percent.

The reorganization, which the company said in October will lead to the loss of 900 jobs through 2016, led to 48 million euros in provisions, Schaeffler said today. Net debt narrowed to 5.7 billion euros as of Sept. 30 from 6.8 billion euros on Dec. 31, it said.

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