Continental reported first quarter net income down to 441.2 million euro, from 482.9 million euro last year.
Earnings per share fell to 2.21 euro from 2.41 euro in 2012 and the EBIT dropped by 5% to 747 million euro, mainly due to extensive development and research expenses which increased to 8.7% of sales in the Automotive Group. Sales during the first quarter slid 3.4% to 8.03 billion euro from 8.32 billion euro during the same period last year.
Sales were also affected by the leap in 2012 and the fact that this year the quarter had three fewer working days compared with last year due to the early Easter holidays. The unusual long period of cold weather in Northern Europe made drivers change to summer tires later than usual.
Still, the company expects his year to increase by 5% surpassing 34 billion euro and an EBIT margin of more than 10%, relying on an acceleration of global production for passenger vehicles. Europe’s second- largest maker of auto parts managed to avoid the effects of the crisis by following BMW, VW and Mercedes into growing markets such as the US and China.
“The first three months of this year were difficult,” Chief Executive Elmar Degenhart said in a statement. “However, our business has already regained momentum.”