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Autoliv eyeing acquisitions in China, Japan

From Reuters| June 19,2007

Autoliv is eyeing acquisitions in China and Japan, its top executive said today.

CEO Jan Carlson, who replaced long-time chief Lars Westerberg earlier this year, told an investor conference that the firm was actively seeking potential acquisition targets.

"The technology area Active Safety Products, and regions such as China and Japan are interesting when it comes to acquisitions," he told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

Carlson added that in the near-term the firm, which has had to cope with lackluster demand in the automotive market in recent quarters, would retain the priority on boosting operating margins set by his predecessor.

"The priority right now is to set the operating margin straight, that we return to where we think it belongs -- somewhere between 8 and 9 percent," he said.

Carlson stood by the firm's guidance from April for a 7.4-percent operating margin in the second quarter and a full-year margin near 8 percent.

He also repeated Autoliv's guidance of a 6-percent year-on-year rise in sales in the second quarter, of which 2 percent would be organic growth, while organic growth for the full year would exceed 3 percent.

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