Schaeffler 'optimistic' for 2013 after profit slump in 2012

Schaffler, the German maker of ball bearings and car parts, said Thursday it was "optimistic" for business this year, even though profits fell in 2012.

Schaeffler said in a statement its net profit declined by 1.9 percent to 872 million euros ($1.13 billion) last year,

Underlying profits, as measured by earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), dropped by 17.6 percent to 1.4 billion euros, while revenues grew by 4.0 percent to 11.1 billion euros.

"The Schaeffler group continued its course for growth in 2012 despite a market environment that weakened increasingly over the course of the year," said chief executive Juergen Geissinger.

Looking ahead to the current year, Schaeffler "is optimistic about the 2013 revenue trend," Geissinger said.

The company is not expecting the European automotive markets to recover quickly and "North America and Asia/Pacific are and will remain our growth drivers," the CEO said.

"Based on these factors, we are aiming for revenue growth of approximately four percent and an EBIT margin of approximately 13 percent in 2013," Geissinger said.