PARIS, July 26 (Reuters) - French car parts makersaid first-half operating profit rose 7.2 percent as it expanded in Asia and shrugged off a declining auto market in Europe.
Earnings reached 370 million euros ($455.1 million), or 6.2 percent of sales,said in a statement on Thursday. The group had record order intake of 8 billion euros in the period, with sales up 12.5 percent to 6 billion.
Based on estimated growth of 5-6 percent in global automotive production this year and a decline of 6-7 percent in Europe, as well as stable raw material prices, Valeo confirmed full-year profit would match last year's level of 704 million euros.
"Thanks to our strategy of focusing the group's activities on developing technologies that reduce CO2 emissions and on expanding our business in high-growth markets in Asia and emerging countries, Valeo is well equipped to pursue its profitable growth," Chief Executive Jacques Aschenbroich said. ($1 = 0.8130 euros) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Christian Plumb)