Electric vehicle contracts boost Bulten’s 2018 bottom line

Net sales were up for Bulten in 2018, at SEK 3,132 million (2017: 2,856 m) representing a 9.7% rise.

Earnings after tax reached SEK 143 million (2017: 210 m), representing an operating margin of 6.7% (2017: 7.4%). Order booking were also up over the course of the year (2.8%).

Since then, Bulten signed a Full Service Provider (FSP) contract for fasteners in a new vehicle programme, worth approx €13 m a year, at full production in 2021, starting late 2019.

Bulten’s outgoing CEO referenced a volatile automotive market, thanks in part to Brexit and environmental regs, but lauded the growth of the EV market.

“Vehicle production fell during the quarter [4] due to greater uncertainty on the market,” said CEO and president Tommy Andersson. “The increased volatility in demand for vehicles is partly an effect of new environmental tax regulations in several European countries, as well as uncertainty regarding Brexit.

“Bulten continues to win new business and take market shares despite weak market conditions. Net sales increased by 1%, and we are thereby compensating to some degree for the weak market development by start-up of new contract.

“Order bookings during the quarter were in line with sales, but down 12 % compared to the previous year’s strong order bookings thanks to the start of new contracts and model shifts.

“Operating earnings during the quarter were down on the previous year, primarily due to reduced volume development in the latter part of the quarter. The reduction in volume came with very little advance notice. Adaptations to production have begun but will take some time. Earnings were also negatively impacted by currency effects and the beginning of restructuring in China. Raw material prices stabilised during the quarter, although at continued high level.

“Our financial position is strong and we are continuing with the strategic development and adaptation of our operation in line with the communicated plan. Demand for hybrids and electric cars is increasing, and this is a favorable development for Bulten. We are well positioned in this area and we signed two new FSP contracts during the quarter, for electric car drivelines.

“As I now hand over to my successor Anders Nyström, Bulten is in an excellent position to continue winning new contracts and market shares.”