Continental refinances 4.5 bln euro loan to fund growth

BERLIN, May 6 (Reuters) - German auto parts and tyre maker Continental refinanced a 4.5 billion-euro ($6.25 billion) loan, reducing its interest payments as the company aims to fund future expansion.

Hanover-based Continental said on Tuesday it replaced the loan at the end of April with a new syndicated loan of the same amount, adding that the interest margin has almost been halved.

The company reinforced its outlook, saying it expects further growth "in coming months" after first-quarter operating profit jumped almost a fifth on improving car markets.

Adjusted EBIT was up nearly 20 percent to 953 million euros ($1.32 billion) while sales increased 4.4 percent to 8.4 billion euros, prompting the company to raise its outlook for profitability. ($1 = 0.7205 Euros) (Reporting by Andreas Cremer, editing by Thomas Atkins)