October 26, 2017 / 11:43 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Autoliv trims 2017 sales growth forecast, keeps profitability view

(Adds detail, shares, CEO comments)

STOCKHOLM, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Swedish auto safety gear maker Autoliv reported quarterly core operating earnings just below market expectations on Thursday and slightly reduced its like-for-like sales forecast for the year.

* Autoliv, the world's largest maker of airbags and seatbelts, said its Q3 operating profit, excl. items affecting comparability, fell to $196 mln vs $199 mln in Q3 2016, and just below a mean forecast for $200 mln in a Reuters poll

* Autoliv's Swedish-listed shares rise 0.3 pct at 1132 GMT, was down slightly ahead of announcement

* Keeps FY2017 adjusted operating margin forecast of around 8.5 pct

* Trims FY2017 organic sales growth forecast to more than 1 pct vs around 2 pct previously, citing a weaker North American market, unfavorable model mix and lower inflator replacement sales

* "We keep our margins on an annual basis despite a slightly lower topline guidance, so we are quite pleased, Autoliv CEO Jan Carlson told Reuters

* "We think that our execution, the preparations for new launches and the high order intake, that is going perfectly according to plan," Carlson said

* Autoliv shares soared on September 14 when the firm said it planned to split into two listed companies, with one focused on high-tech safety gear to capture the rapid growth towards self-driving vehicles

* The firm expects to give more detailed information around the strategic plan by the end of 2017, Carlson said

* Carlson said Zenuity, Autoliv's autonomous driving software systems JV with Volvo Cars, has good momentum, and is actively working with around five potential customers with demo installations in a number of their cars (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom and Niklas Pollard, Editing by Helena Soderpalm)

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