October 23, 2013 / 12:06 PM / 4 years ago

Continental AG CEO says need to look beyond Europe more

BERLIN, Oct 23 (Reuters) - German auto parts and tyre maker Continental AG is banking on growth outside Europe to help offset continued weakness in its home region.

"We have to concentrate more on growth opportunities outside of Europe," Chief Executive Elmar Degenhart told Reuters on the sidelines of a logistics industry conference on Wednesday, adding he did not expect a quick economic recovery in Europe.

Continental is investing in adding tyre production capacity in fast-growing markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. For instance, it opened a new plant in Heifei, China in 2011 and is adding a production site in Russia's Kaluga.

But Degenhart said that there was still room for improvement in some emerging markets, citing sluggish political reforms in India, delays to major projects in Brazil and Russia's increasing reliance on the oil sector.

"When the price (of oil) is good, Russia booms. When it goes down, Russia stagnates," he said.

Degenhart affirmed Continental's 2013 targets for sales of 34 billion euros ($47 billion) and an operating profit margin of more than 10 percent.

Continental is due to publish third-quarter financial results on Nov. 7. ($1 = 0.7260 euros) (Reporting by Klaus Lauer; Writing by Maria Sheahan)

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