Valeo has reported a fall in its third quarter sales, despite stable volumes in the period, as the company took a hit on exchange rates and falling prices. The components group noted, however, that its flat volumes were in contrast to a general market that was down nearly 4%.

In the third quarter 2008, total operating revenues amounted to EUR2.1bn, down by 5.9% versus the third quarter 2007. Valeo said that exchange rates (-1.6%), changes in the reporting entity (-1.6%) and prices (-2.7%) had hit revenues.

Looking forward, the group warned that it foresaw a further deterioration of automotive production in the fourth quarter, but said: "Thanks to the actions undertaken, the group confirms, for 2008, an operating margin similar to that of 2007."

Operating margin in the third quarter stood at EUR65m or 3.1% of total operating revenues, versus EUR73m and 3.3% for the same period in 2007. Over nine months, the operating margin rate was up by 0.4 points.

Net income attributable to the company's shareholders totalled EUR6m, compared with a loss of EUR40m in the third quarter 2007 which included a provision of EUR54m for the sale of the wiring harness activity.

Over the first nine months of the year, basic earnings per share from continued operations stood at EUR1.41, up by 24.8% versus the same period in 2007.

A statement from the company said that it had no significant debt reimbursement scheduled before January 2011 and that its cash situation is not affected by the financial crisis today.

"In the medium term, the group is evaluating the consequences of this new economic environment on its margin improvement objectives," it added.