ODELZHAUSEN, Germany - WET Automotive Systems AG, the global leader in seat heating systems, has joined the growing list of publicly quoted German supplier companies.
The Odelzhausen-based supplier was floated on the Frankfurt stock exchange's new market for small companies last month.
The global market is growing. WET has 49 percent of the global market for seat heating systems and 90 percent in North America.
But few North American cars are fitted with heated seats. In Germany, many luxury cars offer the feature. For example, a third of BMWs made in Europe are fitted with seat heaters, all of them from WET.
Other major German customers include Volkswagen, Audi, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. In North America, WET supplies GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Subaru and BMW.
WET had sales of DM83.1 million ($47 million) in the year ending 30 June 1997. Seat heaters accounted for 85 percent of sales, and wiring for 8.4 percent.
Worldwide, seat heaters will eventually be fitted to about 10 percent of all cars, according to Rolla Kautz-Pan, auto analyst at BHF Bank in Frankfurt.
The bank forecasts that WET's sales will more than double to DM170 million in the financial year ending 30 June 2000.
WET is cutting costs by using new technologies and by shifting manufacturing to low-cost countries such as Hungary.
In North America the company is based in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It has a second factory in Del Rio, Texas.
WET's shares were issued at DM54, and immediately rose to DM 80. The issue was managed by BHF Bank and Bayerische Vereinsbank.