Exactly half of the suppliers in the Automotive News Europe/PricewaterhouseCoopers Transaction Services Shareholder Value Index recorded growth in shareholder value in Q4. The overall performance of the sector, however, was exceptionally mixed.
At the top of the table, Miba AG, the Austrian-based producer of sintered components, engine bearings and friction materials, achieved a 19.3 percent gain in its value to shareholders. This improvement reflected continued increases in sales resulting from a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. Sales in the firtst nine months equaled those achieved in the whole of the preceding 12 months. For the full year, the company reported that net profits rose more than threefold compared with 2010.
Safety systems maker Autoliv took second place in Q4, with a 15 percent gain, while Germany's Continental AG improved by 10.2 percent. Autoliv, the global leader in passive safety systems, also has a strong focus on active safety systems, which is a big growth segment of the market. As a result, for eight consecutive quarters it has achieved organic revenue growth ahead of the market as a whole. This has also enabled it to achieve earnings at least in line with, and often ahead of, investor expectations.
Half of the partsmakers included in the shareholder value index did not return to growth in Q4. The worst performer was Norwegian driver controls and cable specialist Kongsberg. It is the only partsmaker to have recorded a decline in every quarter in 2011. It capped a 44 percent decline in shareholder value in Q3 with a further 40.2 percent decline in Q4.
Delays in some cost reduction initiatives and a negative product mix were cited by the company as the main reasons or forecasting a reduction in 2011 profits when reporting results at the end of Q3.
The next biggest loser in the quarter was Plastic Omnium, down 14.9 percent. But the French front-end maker experienced mixed fortunes during the year, enjoying good growth in the first two quarters and losses at the modest end of the scale compared to others in Q3.
The company actually achieved a 40 percent increase in the third quarter of this year and reaffirmed its forecast for a sharp increase in earnings for the year as a whole.
"Suppliers had varying levels of success in Q4. As ever, those who can align themselves with the growing OEMs or carve out a successful niche in a growth area will be the most successful," said Jason Wakelam, leader of PwC UK's Automotive Transaction Services.