Boom in car safety systems boosts German engineer Bosch

The logo of Bosch company is seen during the IFA Electronics show in Berlin September 4, 2014. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A boom in demand for car safety systems will help German engineer Robert Bosch [ROBG.UL] to boost sales and profit margins this year, it forecast on Friday.

The shift towards more fuel-efficient and safer cars has helped unlisted Bosch to sell more of its high-margin driver assistance systems, including ultrasound, radar and video sensors used in crash-avoidance technology.

The company, a major supplier of electronic and mechanical automotive components, said preliminary figures showed group sales reached 48.9 billion euros (36.81 billion pounds) last year, up 6.2 percent on the year before, adjusting for a 500 million euro hit from adverse exchange rate moves.

The margin on earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose to 6.1 percent, up by nearly 1 percentage point on 2013.

Bosch forecast sales at its mobility services division, which includes the car safety business, would grow at twice the rate of the market for passenger cars.

Sales at the division are expected to reach 37 billion euros in 2015, up from 33 billion in 2014, Chief Executive Volkmar Denner told reporters in remarks embargoed for Friday.

The company's 2014 results were helped by a 17 percent jump in sales in Asia Pacific, and an 8.6 percent increase in North America, the preliminary figures showed.

Full results are due on April 29.

Preliminary results do not include consolidated proceeds from two joint-venture companies, Bosch Siemens Haushaltsgeraete [BSHBS.UL] and ZF Lenksysteme, which Bosch acquired in 2014. Once these two companies are consolidated, Bosch sales will rise by another 15 billion euros, the company said.

(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Mark Potter)