GKN profit up 19 pct, sees European auto weakness in 2013

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - British car and plane parts maker GKN posted a better-than-expected 19 percent rise in full-year profit, boosted by growth at its Driveline autos unit, which benefitted from rising car sales in the United States.

GKN, which makes chassis and axles for carmakers such as Volkswagen and airframes for planemakers Airbus and Boeing, on Tuesday reported a 2012 pretax profit of 497 million pounds ($750.94 million) on revenues 13 percent higher at 6.9 billion pounds.

GKN was expected to report a 2012 pretax profit of between 441.5 million and 536 million pounds, with the average at 475 million pounds, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of 14 analysts.

GKN increased the total dividend for the year by 20 percent to 7.2 pence per share.

However, the company was cautious on its prospects for 2013 given continued weakness in European auto demand and said that first half profit would be hit by 21 million pound charge to help lower the cost base at its autos businesses.