April 27, 2018 / 10:45 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Autoliv Q1 profit lags forecast ahead of split

(Adds detail, background, share price)

STOCKHOLM, April 27 (Reuters) - Autoliv , the world’s largest maker of airbags and seatbelts, reported quarterly earnings just below market expectations on Friday and said it would not deliver financial guidance for the group ahead of its impending split.

The Swedish automotive supplier said its first-quarter operating profit rose to $225 million from $218 million in the year-ago quarter, lagging a mean forecast for $230 million in a Reuters analyst poll.

The group’s operating margin in the quarter also marginally missed analysts’ expectations.

While it broke with tradition in not guiding for sales growth and margins for the group, it maintained its outlook for its two arms - Passive Safety and Electronics - which are due to become separately listed companies later this year.

That guidance sees a rise in underlying profitability for Passive Safety this year while core margins are set to fall for the Electronics segment, which is investing heavily in emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

The company makes radar products, vision systems and advanced driver assistance software in its Electronics business, while Passive safety includes airbags and seatbelts and generates the bulk of company earnings.

“The product launches in Passive Safety are generally on track and its order intake continued to be on a high level in the quarter,” Chief Executive Jan Carlson said in a statement.

Autoliv’s Stockholm-listed share gave up early gains to trade 1.5 percent lower by 1013 GMT. Its shares are up 23 percent so far this year, sharply outperforming a 2 percent rise STOXX Europe Automobiles & Parts Index.

Autoliv has been winning a lot of new business at the expense of collapsed Japanese rival Takata in recent years, which has been at the centre of the auto industry’s biggest-ever recall and filed for bankruptcy last year. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom and Niklas Pollard; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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