Bulten AB reported third quarter net sales at SEK 722 million, an increase of 14.5% over the same period in 2017. Net sales for 2018 year to date were SEK 2.39 billion (€229.2 million), up 12.7% year-on-year.
Operating earnings (EBIT) for the nine months totalled SEK 162 million (2017: SEK 155 million), equating to an operating margin of 6.8% (2017: 7.3%). The operating margin in the third quarter was 5.2% (2017: 5.5%). Bulten reported order bookings at SEK 2.36 billion, an increase of 8.3% over the same period last year.
President and CEO, Tommy Andersson, reported: “We continued strong growth during the third quarter, with an increase in net sales of 14.5%, adjusted for currency 5.8%. The organic growth is primarily driven by new contracts that are now in production. We are therefore continuing to take shares on a market characterised by temporarily higher volatility in demand for cars during the quarter, which is largely an effect of new environmental tax regulations in several European countries.”
“Order bookings increased 4.7% on the same quarter last year when orders were also strong, primarily due to the start-up of a new contract, and model shifts. Operating earnings were on par with last year, with a slight fall in operating margin. The lower operating margin is primarily attributable to negative exchange rate fluctuations, as well as an imbalance in production due to market volatility. Furthermore, global market prices for raw materials for fasteners have risen continually since the first quarter of 2017. No increases have been announced for the fourth quarter.”
“Demand for hybrids and electric cars is increasing, a favourable development for Bulten since the value of fasteners is currently far higher in these vehicles compared to ones with conventional combustion engines. Also, in October we signed a new FSP contract for an electric vehicle drive technology driveline, clear confirmation that we are on the leading edge when it comes to technology for electrification.”
Bulten to relocate and grow Chinese operation
Bulten AB has also announced it will relocate its operation in China from Beijing to Tianjin. The aim is to expand in the local Chinese market, where Bulten’s volumes and growth opportunities increase considerably from a previously relatively low level. “With this move we strengthen our position in China and are able to scale-up future volumes to another level,” says Tommy Andersson.
The new plant will be located in XEDA International Industrial Park in Tianjin, approximately 150km from the current plant, where Bulten will rent the premises in a new facility with the latest purification technology. The relocation starts this year and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. The relocation includes an investment of approximately SEK 25 million and the cost is estimated to amount to SEK 16 million – SEK 20 million distributed over the moving period, the main part in 2019.
“With this investment we get an efficient and a more environment friendly production with more capacity to handle future growth. I am looking forward to this opportunity that will bring Bulten to another level on the Chinese market,” says Edith Wang, Bulten’s managing director in China.
Having held senior management roles in leading automotive and fastener businesses, Phil joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine as editor in 2002. Convinced there is no substitute for ‘being there’, over 15 years of visits and interviews around the world means he has accumulated an extraordinary knowledge and perspective of the global fastener industry, reflected in his incisive and thought provoking reporting.