* Q1 adjusted EBITA 132 mln eur vs Reuters poll avg 127 mln eur
* Malaysia plant, sale of lamps business on track
* Profit, sales driven by automotive demand (Adds revenue figures, details on Malaysia plant)
FRANKFURT, Feb 8 (Reuters) - German lighting group Osram reported a forecast-beating profit for its first quarter thanks to strong demand from the automotive industry and for LED components - a key business that it is betting its future on.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) rose 4 percent to 132 million euros ($141 million) in the quarter to end-December, above the 127 million-euro average forecast in a Reuters poll.
Osram said on Wednesday construction of its new, billion-euro LED (light-emitting diode) factory in Malaysia was progressing according to plan, and that it still expected to dispose of its traditional lamps business this fiscal year.
“Our strategy is working. We are on the right track,” said Chief Executive Olaf Berlien.
Berlien has faced much criticism over his decision to invest heavily in the Malaysian plant, which will produce LED chips for the price-competitive general-lighting market. The company’s former CFO left over strategic differences last year.
First-quarter revenue rose 8 percent on a comparable basis to 991 million euros, in line with expectations, driven by a 15 percent increase at LED components unit Opto Semiconductors, which saw strong demand for infrared LEDs used for applications including iris scanning and driver assistance.
Osram reaffirmed its full-year outlook for comparable revenue growth of 5-7 percent, an adjusted core profit (EBITDA) margin of at least 16 percent - after 18 percent in the first quarter - and a stable dividend of at least 1.00 euro per share. ($1 = 0.9368 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Harro ten Wolde and Edwina Gibbs)