Schaeffler Group says it has set new records in sales and operating results in 2010.

The results come as the company takes steps to reduce its level of debt.

“2010 was an extremely successful year for Schaeffler Group. With sales of EUR9.5bn, up 29 percent, we managed an excellent comeback in 2010,” said Dr. Juergen M. Geissinger, CEO of Schaeffler Group, at the annual financial press conference in Frankfurt/Main.

“Both divisions – Automotive and Industrial – recorded significantly higher sales in 2010. We were able to outpace the high demand in the automotive and industrial sectors, thanks to our strong presence in regional growth markets and our focus on innovative products and solutions.”

In the Automotive division sales increased 34 percent to EUR6,341m.

Net income for the group amounted to EUR63m (2009: net loss of EUR1,204m). Without the one-off dilution loss of EUR396m in connection with the rights issue at Continental AG in January 2010, net income would have been EUR459m, the company said.

Schaeffler said that outlook for 2011 remains positive. Global car production will continue to grow in 2011, albeit on a lower level than in 2010. The firm expects global production for passenger cars and light trucks to grow by around five percent in 2011. This positive development will be driven in particular by above average growth rates in Asia Pacific and North America.

Dr. Juergen M. Geissinger said: “Our target is to outperform market growth, as we have done over the past several years. We have had a good start to 2011. For the full year, we expect sales to increase between eight and ten percent, climbing over the EUR10bn mark for the first time in Schaeffler’s history. We are confident that we can achieve an EBIT margin above 13 percent, despite headwinds in raw material and energy costs. That will keep our profitability above the long-term average.”