MUNICH, Germany, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Swiss car parts and textile machinery maker Rieter (RIEN.S: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Thursday it was aiming for an operating margin of at least 5 percent in 2008 in its auto division.
"The objective is that we again have a five in front of the decimal point," Chief Financial Officer Urs Leinhaeuser told an analysts' conference in Munich late on Wednesday, referring to a margin on earnings before interest and tax (EBIT).
The EBIT margin in Rieter's cars unit fell to 4 percent in the first half of 2007 from 5.4 percent a year earlier, reflecting higher raw material costs, pressure on prices, and problems at a plant in Britain.
Higher logistics costs and quality problems in Britain would result in the current year in an operating costs of 20 million Swiss francs ($16.93 million), said Leinhaeuser, adding that the British operation should break even by 2009.
Reiter's Chief Executive Hartmut Reuter said he saw no clouds on the horizon in textiles machinery, which saw an 18 percent rise in sales in the first half to 1.08 billion francs, as clients Turkey, China and India spent heavily.