Valeo has raised its 2013 earnings target and predicted a more stable market in Europe in the second half of the year after reporting improved operating income and sales in the first half.

The company said it expects to improve on the 6.2% operating margin recorded last year after operating income rose 3.7% to EUR384m (US$509m) before one-off gains and expenses.

Chief executive Jacques Aschenbroich said: "I believe the worst is now behind us in Europe," adding that the improved full-year guidance assumes "stabilised market conditions" in the region.

As with other European suppliers, Valeo is seeking future growth outside the region where vehicle sales have fallen for six consecutive years.

Valeo's net income fell 1.6% to EUR190m (US$252m) in January-June, on a 2.8% gain in sales to EUR6.1bn (US$8.1bn)

The company had previously forecast flat operating income before one-offs, on 2013 sales outperforming all regional markets. Valeo said it sees a fall of between 2% and 3% in European production this year, less than the 4% drop predicted in February.