Bulten AB published its full 2018 report, which includes an extensive statement from Anders Nyström, appointed President and CEO this year. The report also includes Bulten’s analysis of trends in the automotive sector for which it is a major Full Service Provider.
Bulten reported 2018 net sales at SEK 3,132 million, up 9.7% on previous year despite growing market uncertainty as the second half year progressed. This is reflected in the analysis by quarters, with organic growth in Quarter 4 falling to 1%. Full year adjusted operating earnings (EBIT) were virtually unchanged at SEK 211 million (2017:210). Operating margin for the year was 6.7%, down on 2017 (7.4%). Third quarter operating earnings were on par with 2017 but operating margin was affected by negative exchange rate fluctuations, as well as an imbalance in production due to market volatility. Fourth quarter operating earnings were down year on year, primarily due to reduced volume development.
Anders Nyström’s first official day at Bulten was 8th February 2019. The new President and CEO opened his statement by emphasising that Bulten had achieved good growth thanks to the ramping up of previously won FSP contracts expected, when reaching anticipated full production in 2021, to contribute annual sales of EUR 65 million and continued increase in market share. New FSP contracts for electric vehicles, including two won in Quarter 4 2018, demonstrated Bulten’s position in this growing segment.
Nyström emphasised the key role of Bulten’s FSP concept, delivering growth despite increased market volatility caused by new environmental regulations in European countries and Brexit uncertainty. “Bulten increased its market shares in a weaker market thanks to the launch of new contracts,” he added. Nyström’s statement identifies nine points of focus for 2019, including continuing to ramp up won contracts and winning new FSP contract, as well as securing continued efficient, profitable production. Further capacity investments will begin in Poland. The SEK 177 million investment, announced originally in 2017, was delayed by land and building negotiations. Investment in a new heat treatment line in Hallstahammar will be completed, increasing capacity by around 25%. As already announced, Bulten’s production plant in China will be relocated from Beijing to Tianjin, with structural costs expected at SEK 16-20 million. Bulten will continue to promote and develop innovation and sustainability, while building on its already strong corporate culture.
Bulten’s report also includes a four page report on the global automotive industry and the strength of the company’s position supplying it. Bulten estimates its share of the European market for fasteners for the automotive industry at 18% by end 2018. The report quotes MarketsandMarkets as valuing the automotive fastener market at around US$ 20 billion in 2017, reaching US$ 25 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 2.39%. Bulten also quotes an LMC Automotive forecast, published in December 2018, which expects European production of light vehicles to decrease -0.5% in 2019 and increase +3.5% in 2020. 77% of Bulten’s 2018 income came from the light vehicle market sector, 14% from heavy commercial vehicles, and 9% from automotive tier suppliers.
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.