UPDATE 1-PSA sales gain weakened by emerging markets, Citroen
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PARIS Jan 12 (Reuters) - PSA Peugeot Citroen eked out a 1.2 percent gain in global vehicle deliveries last year as a China slowdown and emerging-markets slump almost cancelled out the benefit of a European auto recovery, the French carmaker said on Tuesday.
Global sales rose to 2.973 million vehicles in 2015 from 2.939 million the previous year, the Paris-based group said in a statement on Tuesday.
Sales increased 5.9 percent in Europe and 6.4 percent in the company's Middle East and Africa region, but fell 0.9 percent in China and Southeast Asia, it said.
Under Chief Executive Carlos Tavares, the carmaker rebounded from a brush with bankruptcy two years ago to a 5 percent automotive operating profit margin in the first half of 2015, a level of profitability not seen for more than a decade. But Peugeot had warned conditions would become tougher in the remainder of the year.
Full-year sales were "impacted by a highly challenging economic environment" in emerging markets, the group said on Tuesday, with Latin America recording a 21.4 percent decline and Eurasia - mainly Russia - plunging 72.6 percent.
Chinese sales were up 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter, however, as the market recovered from some mid-year weakness, Peugeot said. The company, which is due to report 2015 earnings on Feb. 24, gave no forecast for the current year.
The group's embryonic premium badge, DS, suffered setbacks in all major markets and a 13.6 percent drop in global 2015 sales as it awaits a second generation of models.
The Citroen brand, currently undergoing a makeover embodied by models such as the C4 Cactus, also continued to underperform in Europe and most of the world, posting a 2.1 percent global sales decline to Peugeot's 4.6 percent increase.
But the marque gained ground in the Middle East and Africa, where its 16.1 percent sales jump outpaced Peugeot's 2.3 percent advance, thanks to strong demand for the pared-down C-Elysee sedan. (Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by James Regan)
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