October 26, 2018 / 10:38 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Autoliv cuts 2018 sales outlook as slowing China, Europe weighs

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STOCKHOLM, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Sweden's Autoliv , the world's largest maker of airbags and seatbelts, cut its full-year organic sales growth forecast on Friday, citing lower demand in China and the impact of tougher emission tests on car production in Europe.

The company, which competes with Joyson Safety Systems and ZF TRW, forecast organic sales growth of around 6 percent this year compared with a mean forecast of 6.5 percent in a poll of analysts and its own previous outlook of 8 percent.

The broader automotive sector has come under pressure in recent months from falling car sales in China while the impact of tougher European emissions tests has weighed on auto output in the region, causing several carmakers to warn on profits.

"We see a similar environment for the rest of the year, with continued uncertainty for light vehicle production, especially in China and Europe, with continued uneven asset utilization," Autoliv CEO Mikael Bratt said in a statement.

"We are implementing actions to manage these challenges and we look forward to a gradual improvement in operating leverage over time," he added.

Autoliv, which spun out its high-tech safety gear arm Veoneer earlier this year, said third-quarter operating profit rose to $193 million from $167 million a year ago, lagging the $205 million forecast in a poll of analysts.

While a slowdown dented sales in Europe and China, growth in North America was far stronger at a like-for-like 22 percent on the back of a string of product launches during the quarter.

Autoliv's Stockholm-listed stock fell 3.4 percent by 1035 GMT in a bearish market for auto stocks. Its shares are down 23 percent over the past three months, compared with an 18 percent fall for the European automotive sector. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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