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By Agnieszka Flak
MILAN, May 14 (Reuters) - Italian brakes maker Brembo is expecting sales growth of as much as 11.5 percent this year, more than previously anticipated, after a promising first quarter, deputy chairman Matteo Tiraboschi told Reuters on Thursday.
The company had previously expected sales growth of close to 10 percent for 2015. In the first quarter, sales rose 15 percent to 514.3 million euros ($586 million), but Tiraboschi said the first half of the year is usually the company’s strongest.
He said Brembo’s 2015 core profit margin could increase slightly from the 15.5 percent reached last year, but he did not expect it to hit the 16.7 percent achieved in the January-March period.
The family-controlled company, which supplies brakes to car makers that include Ferrari and Porsche, is actively scouting for acquisition opportunities in the automotive and aviation industries.
“The conditions are good for an acquisition because there is liquidity available in the market, the cost of capital is relatively low and Brembo is generating cash.” He also said that high multiples on possible targets were a negative and that there was nothing concrete on the table yet.
“We are putting a lot of effort into this, but it is not easy to find a target that would fit with Brembo’s DNA.”
Tiraboschi said Brembo would be a “great target” for an Asian buyer, but said the company was not for sale.
High profile Italian automotive sector companies have been attracting a lot of interest from Asia due to their expertise.
China National Chemical Corp is set to become the majority owner of tyre maker Pirelli, and automotive design firm Pininfarina has attracted interest from India’s Mahindra & Mahindra.
Earlier on Thursday, Brembo reported a 27.5 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to 45.8 million euros.
Shares in the company, up more than 30 percent so far this year, rose 2.4 percent to 37.1 euros by 1424 GMT, outperforming a 1 percent rise in Italy’s automotive and parts index .
$1 = 0.8770 euros Editing by Jane Merriman