(AOF) – Akwel recorded consolidated revenue of 922.4 million euros in 2021, down 1.6% in gross data, but up 2.8% on a consolidated basis. and constant exchange rates. The last quarter was part of a downward trend (-22.4%) comparable to the previous one (-19.3%) due to still low production levels in the global automotive industry, in a still tense context on the raw materials and electronic components.
Net cash excluding lease obligations increased by 10 million euros in the fourth quarter, to reach 108.3 million at the end of the year, an annual increase of 47.7 million euros confirming the continuation of a strong generation free cash flow by the group.
Production disruptions and cost increases resulting from supply constraints will significantly weigh on the group’s 2021 current operating income. This is expected to decline by around 35%, including an additional provision for warranty returns of around 7 million euros, i.e. a level of current operating margin comparable to that of the 2018 and 2019 financial years.
For the year 2022, visibility remains low at this stage on the global automotive market, making all forecasting exercises complex. In this context, Akwel nevertheless anticipates an increase in its turnover.
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Automotive / Equipment manufacturers: A slow recovery
After a bad year 2020, some actors
expect a very gradual return to the level of activity prior to the crisis: not before 2024-2025.
The global pandemic weighed heavily on the accounts of Valeo, Faurecia and Plastic Omnium.
2020, a bad year for French equipment manufacturers.
All three ended 2020 posting losses, despite recovering in the second half. Faurecia recorded 379 million euros in losses last year. Its sales tumbled 35.4% in the first half, following the shutdown of automobile production in China, then in Europe and the United States. Its turnover fell by nearly 20%, to 14.6 billion euros, over the year as a whole and its operating margin rate fell from 7.2% to 2.8% .
Its competitor, Plastic Omnium, posted a decline in turnover of 16.7% in 2020, to 7.7 billion euros. Staff costs and general expenses were reduced by 240 million euros and investments by 27%. Including 250 million in asset impairments, its net loss reached 251 million in 2020.
Valeo suffered a drop in its turnover of 16%, to 16.4 billion euros, and a net loss slightly greater than one billion euros.
Hydrogen, a new Eldorado for equipment manufacturers
The production of green hydrogen is an alternative to electric batteries. Bosch, one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers, will invest by 2024 one billion euros in fuel cells, which transform hydrogen into electricity. The German group predicts that the green hydrogen market in Europe will represent nearly 40 billion euros by 2030, with annual growth rates of 65%. He estimates that the market for mobile fuel cell components, intended for vehicles, will represent around 18 billion euros by the end of the decade.
French automotive suppliers are also seeking to capture part of this market. Michelin and Faurecia rely on their subsidiary Symbio, which produces fuel cells. Plastic Omnium aims to become a world leader in hydrogen by 2030 and achieve 3 billion euros in sales by that date.