FRANKFURT -- German tire and car components maker Continental on Wednesday posted a stronger-than-expected 30 percent jump in operating profit for the third quarter and raised its guidance for the full year.
Earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) rose to 262 million euros ($306.7 million). The figure exceeded a forecast of 211 million euros in a Reuters poll of 18 analysts.
Conti lifted its forecast for 2003 operating profit to 750 million euros, from its previous forecast of over 700 million euros.
Continental cited rising demand for installations of key products, including electronics systems. Continental has focused on expanding its higher-margin electronics business as cars have become more sophisticated.
"Due to the gratifying gains in volume, we are raising our earnings forecast," Continental Chief Executive Manfred Wennemer said in a statement.
The world's fourth-largest tire maker also is reaping the benefits of a major revamp at its tire business, where it has shut expensive factories and invested in eastern Europe over the past three years.
Continental supplies customers such as Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes with features such as cruise control and anti-lock braking systems.
Overall group sales were little changed at 8,485 million euros for the first nine months, compared with 8,484 a year ago.
French rival Michelin, Europe's biggest tire maker, said last week high raw material costs and a strong euro had hit sales in the third quarter and would push down its operating margin in the full year.