BERLIN (Reuters) -Continental will make its user experience unit, which makes instrument panels and displays for vehicles, independent, opening up the option of a potential sell-off or change of ownership, the company said at a capital markets day on Monday.
The auto parts manufacturer was also exploring options for how to further restructure business activities within the automotive division worth 1.4 billion euros ($1.52 billion) in consolidated sales this fiscal year, it said, without providing details.
The group's main businesses are: making tyres; the automotive division, which comprises user experience as well as software safety features and autonomous driving technology; and a third arm producing digital technologies for autos and other sectors called ContiTech.
Continental said in November it would cut thousands of jobs in the automotive division worldwide and reduce the number of business areas within the division from six to five.
Still, the division would remain within Continental, Chief Executive Nikolai Setzer said on Monday, amid speculation about a wider restructuring at the firm as it attempts to boost a tumbling market capitalisation.
"The automotive business is with us, it stays with us," Setzer said at a media briefing.
Also on Monday, Continental said it was targeting an 8-11% adjusted margin on earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) and 44 billion to 48 billion euros ($47.8-$52.18 bln) in total sales in the next 2 to 3 years, rising to 51 billion to 56 billion euros in 3-5 years.
Its 2023 outlook forecasts an adjusted EBIT margin of 5.5-6.5% on sales of 41 billion to 43 billion euros.
The company would likely end the year with just below 7 billion euros in sales at its ContiTech division, around 14 billion euros in tyres and 20 billion in its automotive division, its chief financial officer said.
It expected an adjusted earnings margin close to 7% at ContiTech, at or above 13% in the tyres division and near 2% in the automotive division, CFO Katja Garcia Vila said.
($1 = 0.9200 euros)
(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; editing by Matthias Williams and Louise Heavens)