Estonian car safety equipment maker Norma reported a 53% drop in third quarter net profits to €1.8 million ($US2.1 million) on Wednesday, below analyst forecasts after lower Russian sales, Reuters reported, adding that Norma, which supplies safety belts and other car components, said in an unaudited statement that net sales in the three months to end September shrank to €14.2 million from 15.3 million in the same period last year.

"The main problem for Norma is that the Russian market remains quite unsettled," Henno Viires, a broker with Estonian investment bank LHV, told Reuters, adding: "This can sometimes cause quite unpleasant surprises."

According to Reuters, Norma, which is 51% owned by Swedish-American automotive safety components maker Autoliv, said sales to western markets had risen in the nine months to end September from the same period last year, but Russian sales had slumped.

"Sales to Russian customers decreased 22 percent and to western customers (sales) rose by 19 percent," Norma reportedly said in a statement, adding that earnings per share fell to €0.14 euros in the third quarter, from 0.29 last year and 0.23 in the previous quarter. Reuters said Viires expected Norma's full-year net profit to come in below last year's €12.4 million due to the falling sales to the Russian market.

Reuters noted that the company had beaten expectations in the second quarter with a small year-over-year rise in net profits to €3.0 million, mostly due to a quarterly rebound in sales to Russia.