April 26, 2017 / 3:46 PM / 4 months ago

Valeo sales rise 22 percent on fuel-saving, self-driving tech

PARIS, April 26 (Reuters) - Valeo's quarterly sales rose 22 percent to outpace global vehicle production in all regions, the French auto parts maker said on Wednesday, reiterating upbeat 2017 goals on strong demand for its fuel-saving and automated driving technology.

Revenue rose to 4.77 billion euros ($5.19 billion) in January-March from 3.92 billion a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

The quarterly performance demonstrates "the high growth potential of each of our four business groups", Chief Executive Jacques Aschenbroich said in a statement.

Under Aschenbroich, Valeo has positioned itself to benefit from a crackdown on carbon dioxide and other emissions through a push into electrification and other fuel-saving engine technology. It has also become a major supplier of autonomous driving systems in partnership with Israel's Mobileye.

Thermal systems sales rose 15 percent on a like-for-like basis, while the powertrain division gained 11 percent.

Visibility systems, which include LED lighting, recorded a 14 percent sales increase. Comfort and driving assistance rose 10 percent.

The Paris-based company reiterated its full-year goal for sales growth at least five percentage points above global automotive production, seen expanding between 1.5 percent and 2 percent. The company has pledged a slight increase in operating margin.

Valeo is also expanding in Asia, most recently with its purchase of Japanese lighting specialist Ichikoh.

Europe's share of the company's business with vehicle manufacturers fell below 50 percent in the first quarter thanks in part to that acquisition, Valeo said. The share of sales to Asian customers rose 6 percentage points to almost one-third. ($1 = 0.9194 euros) (Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by GV De Clercq)

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