* Adj oper profit slips 0.6 pct to 4.34 bln euros
* Aims to keep adj EBIT margin above 10.5 pct
* To raise dividend to 4.25 eur per share from 3.75 eur
(Adds detail and background)
BERLIN, March 2 Germany's Continental AG
has reinforced expectations for higher sales this year
and plans to raise the dividend after posting profit near the
high end of expectations.
One of the world's biggest suppliers to the automotive
industry, Continental said it would benefit this year from
further growth in global autos production and returns on
investments in self-driving technology.
"The start into the new year has confirmed the expectations
set for 2017," Continental said on Thursday, citing a goal to
raise sales by more than 6 percent to over 43 billion euros
($45.28 billion) despite rising raw material prices.
The maker of driver-assistance technology, fuel-injection
systems and vehicle tyres said adjusted operating profit eased
0.6 percent to 4.34 billion euros, near the highest forecast of
4.37 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Hanover, Germany-based Continental expects to keep its 2017
margin on adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) above
10.5 percent, after 10.8 percent last year.
Continental is bolstering its electronics expertise as
carmakers including Volkswagen and Ford raise
spending on battery-powered and driverless cars in response to
tougher anti-pollution rules and the emergence of new rivals
such as Google.
The automotive supplier and tyre maker plans to increase the
dividend to 4.25 euros per share from 3.75 euros in 2015. The
group had already reported core results on Jan. 9.
($1 = 0.9497 euros)
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan)