Investors ignored Montupet's stock until sales began to grow rapidly in 1997. Sales of its cast-aluminum products reached FF2.17 billion in 1999, up from FF1.27 billion in 1996.
Now Montupet is investing heavily (nearly FF900 million in 1999 and 2000) in France, Mexico and Northern Ireland to meet strong demand for cylinder heads and wheels, its two main products. 'We target FF3 billion sales in 2000, and we plan to double our wheels and cylinder head production in units within 2003,' said Marc Majus, chief financial officer.
The growth has not occured without problems. Last year, Montupet suffered from a shorter and stronger-than-expected ramp-up in the production of cylinder heads for Renault. The stock price has tumbled 22 percent since January 2000. 'One can expect a significant improvement in Montupet results in 2000,' said Arnaud Jeudy, auto analyst with Enskilda Securities in Paris.