Plastic Omnium CEO Laurent Burelle has said he expects fourth-quarter sales to show double digit growth thanks to consumers buying news cars before national scrappage schemes are phased out.

"I had previously announced that we would have flat sales for the fourth quarter but this is no longer the case since we will have double-digit sales growth," Burelle told reporters visiting the group's research and development centre near Lyon.

Burelle said full year sales would still be lower than a year earlier, despite a recent rise in orders for plastic bumpers and other car parts.

The group, which has been hit hard by the steep fall in global car production since September 2008, said it would return to profitability this year thanks to deep cost cuts.

Plastic Omnium reported its first ever net loss last year, with a EUR63.2m (US$93.6m) deficit.

In 2010 the group expects sales to grow slightly, helped by higher revenue in China and Brazil.

It will also get a boost from tighter carbon-emission standards in Europe, which are likely to spur carmakers to use more plastics in their cars as a way to reducing weight.

Burelle said Plastic Omnium would post a net profit this year and that its operating margin would rise some 20% this year from a year earlier.

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