TORONTO (Reuters) - Intier Automotive said on Tuesday that price pressures on some of its competitors meant it could scoop up extra orders while also keeping an eye open for acquisitions.
Intier chief executive Don Walker said the auto interior and seat maker was keen to expand its business in Asia.
"There's a lot of companies, because of the pricing pressure in the industry, that are having some difficulty," he told analysts on a conference call. "There are ones, because they haven't been able to meet price reductions, there's some opportunities for us to have some takeover work. Our ability to go after these things from a management and cash flow standpoint is certainly there."
Pricing pressures in the auto parts industry have been increased by consolidation in the auto sector, which has cut the number of global auto groups to about 10 from 40 in the past three decades.
Walker said Intier would focus this year on cutting its own internal costs, in part by making purchases in low-cost countries and trying to avoid acquisitions in high-cost manufacturing areas, such as Western Europe.
"I would say we'll be going after Asia ... because we're not that big there yet. We want to continue to diversify our customer base," he said.
Intier reported forecast-topping fourth-quarter results late Monday and sales of $1.4 billion, up from $1.05 billion.
Newmarket, Ontario-based Intier, one of the Magna International Inc. group of companies, attributed the sales increase in part to the impact of a stronger Canadian dollar, euro and pound sterling against the U.S. currency.
Fourth-quarter earnings were $20.5 million, or 37 cents a share diluted. That compares with a loss of $3.7 million, or 9 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter, a period hit by about $25 million in charges.
Analysts had forecast, on average, a profit of 32 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.
On Tuesday, the company said the sale of one of its European facilities would affect first quarter results.
Michael McCarthy, Intier's CFO, said the sale of the facility, in its interiors business, would lead to a charge of about $6 million on net income.
"What this transaction does is get what has been in the past, and would have been in the future, a money-losing facility, dealt with," McCarthy said.
Intier forecast sales in 2004 will range between $5.1 and $5.3 billion, based on modestly higher North American and European light vehicle production volumes of 16.1 million and 16.4 million units.