PARIS -- French car parts maker Faurecia reported a lower than expected 1.2 percent rise in third-quarter sales and saw a similar performance in the fourth quarter.
Faurecia, which makes seats, doors, exhaust systems, and dashboards and is majority-owned by PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, said in a statement on Thursday its sales for the third quarter were 2.50 billion euros ($3 billion).
Exane BNP Paribas expected a 2.6 percent rise in third-quarter sales to 2.53 billion euros.
"Hardly believable," said analyst Pierre-Yves Quemener at CM CIC Securities, who had expected sales to reach 2.528 billion euros and expected to adjust his forecasts downwards.
The market consensus for full-year sales is currently 10.93 billion euros, up 2.5 percent from a year ago, while the cumulative nine-month sales are up 1.5 percent.
Stripping out monoliths, the Faurecia third quarter sales declined by 0.4 percent.
Monoliths are parts of catalytic converters, made up from ceramics and precious metals such as platinum, that Faurecia buys from four or five suppliers at the specification of the final carmaker client.
"Faurecia expects the fourth quarter of 2005 to be similar to the third, that is, stable sales against a backdrop of declining European automobile production," Europe's second-biggest listed car-part maker said in a statement.
It said that exchange rate fluctuations had a positive impact of 1 percent on sales.
Sales outside Europe, by far its biggest market, continued to rise and jumped almost 20 percent in North America.
A spokeswoman said the quarter was relatively weak because at main clients Peugeot and Renault some models were maturing, with activity expected to pick up as new models would hit the road.
"Our order book is sustained," a spokeswoman said. Sales of exhaust systems were up 16.8 percent in the quarter while seating sales dropped 4.9 percent.
RAW MATERIALS HURT
In July, Faurecia reported a 42.2 percent drop in net profit due to restructuring charges and higher raw material costs and said the second half would be in line with the first.
Executive Chairman Pierre Levy said at the start of this month he expected high restructuring charges in the second half after a larger-than-expected charge of 62.4 million euros in the first six months.
The group is in the process of closing its Beaugency seat trimming site in central France, where 157 people are employed. On Tuesday, Oct. 11, it also said it would reorganize its engine-cooling fan business in France, employing 370 people.
PSA, which has a 71.3 percent stake, is the biggest client of Faurecia making up 28.8 percent of 2004 sales, followed by Volkswagen with 22.2 percent.