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By Nick Carey
DETROIT, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Delphi Automotive Plc reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter profit on Thursday on growing demand for electrification and advanced fuel technologies, but the automotive supplier’s fourth-quarter outlook disappointed investors.
Shares of Delphi were down 1.1 percent at $98.33 at midday after falling 3 percent earlier in the session.
Delphi said in May that it planned to spin off operations tied to internal combustion engines and focus on technology for electrically powered and self-driving vehicles. The move boosted its share price and highlighted the challenges for traditional auto-industry companies.
Regulatory and consumer pressures are forcing established automakers to put more electric vehicles in their fleets over the next several years.
The electronic business, Aptiv PLC, will compete in a market Delphi estimates at more than $100 billion a year, nearly twice the size of the internal combustion industry. Delphi said its electronic systems units had about $12 billion in revenue in 2016.
The traditional internal combustion engine powertrain business will be named Delphi Technologies.
The company, which bases its top management in Michigan but is headquartered in Gillingham, England, for tax purposes, expects to complete the spinoff by March.
Delphi said its fastest-growing products, including active safety and advanced gasoline technologies, “infotainment” and electrification, had double-digit growth in the third quarter.
Third-quarter net profit rose 35 percent to $395 million, or $1.48 per share, from $293 million, or $1.97 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, earnings per share of $1.66 beat the analysts’ average estimate of $1.57, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose nearly 5 percent to $4.3 billion from $4.1 billion.
Delphi forecast full-year revenue at $17.35 billion to $17.45 billion, up from a previous range of $16.85 to $17.05 billion.
The company said it expected full-year earnings per share of $6.70 to $6.80. In August, it had forecast them at $6.55 to $6.75.
But the company’s fourth-quarter operating income outlook fell just short of analysts’ expectations of $630 million, which weighed on the stock.
“Management has been guiding conservative, and we think there’s little incentive to rock the boat ahead of the (spinoff),” RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak wrote in a client note.
“Overall, we don’t believe much in the quarter will change anyone’s thesis,” he added. (Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)