Grupo Antolin overcomes the COVID-19 crisis after recovering its sales and EBITDA in the second half of 2020
Grupo Antolin demonstrated the strength and resilience of its business over the past year, as well as its ability to manage and adapt itself in order to cope with the strong impact of COVID-19 on the automotive industry.
Its results recovered progressively over the second part of 2020, closing in recent months at the same level as in the previous year, as trade revived across the main markets. Sales during the fourth quarter reached €1,360 million similar to that of the same period in 2019. The efficiency and cost containment measures adopted by the company allowed gross operating profit (EBITDA) in the fourth quarter to reach €128.4 million, higher than the €127.5 million obtained in the fourth quarter of the previous year.
Overall sales in 2020 reached €3,975 million, compared to €5,214 million in 2019, within the context of a sharp reduction in global vehicle production (-16%). EBITDA fell by 37%, to €272 million, due to the impact of market closure in the second quarter of last year. It highlights the strong growth in Antolin’s activity in China, with an increase in sales of 16.5% in 2020, which contrasts with a 4% global decline in this market.
Throughout the crisis, the company’s priority has been to protect the health of employees by applying the COVID-19 Prevention Protocol, while at the same time ensuring business continuity and controlling liquidity. At the end of 2020, the company had a strong cash position of €402 million, giving it the flexibility to cope with any future disruption in demand. Net financial debt fell by €85 million during 2020, to about €800 million. Since 2018, it has shrunk by more than €140 million.
Despite the weakness of some markets at the beginning of 2021, Grupo Antolin is optimistic in the performance of car sales this year, which will recover some of the loss suffered in the previous year. The company expects a substantial improvement in its 2021 performance with strong revenue growth in all markets, especially in China, and its operating margins.
Pushes ahead with its strategy
The COVID-19 crisis did not prevent Antolin from making steady progress last year in implementing its strategy, which aims to transform its business to consolidate itself as a global provider of innovative and technological solutions of vehicle interiors. An important milestone was the creation of the Electronic Systems Business Unit, which has improved capabilities in advanced engineering with the aim of offering a complete range of electronic control units that manage the different functions of the components of the vehicle interior.
This advanced electronics, coupled with Antolin’s leadership in functional lighting systems and decorative surfaces, enable it to develop innovative products and solutions. The combination of these technologies opens up a future of possibilities by converting interior components into HMI (Human Machine Interface) systems that allow the passenger to interact with the vehicle and its environment. To research the potential of these technologies, the Lighting Business Unit was renamed Lighting & HMI last year. In 2020, the company advanced this strategy by achieving 15 new projects including advanced electronics.
In addition, engineers from Antolin’s Business Units, in coordination with the Innovation Department, are working to enrich their product range with new, more value-added solutions, such as Capacity Pad (decorative surfaces with haptic feedback for the control of different functions), Backlit Trim (functional dynamic backlighted solutions) or Functional Backlit Headliner (reading lighting system seamlessly integrated into the vehicle headliner substrate).
During 2020, the company also continued to expand its ecosystem of technology partners by securing partnerships with CIPIA, for the development of driver and passenger monitoring systems; and with AED Engineering, which completes Antolin’s capabilities in advanced electronics.
"In such a challenging year, the Antolin team demonstrated their ability to work, effort and commitment to overcome market disruption and maintain activity, while continuing to build the pillars of our future. Antolin wants to be a key player in the new sustainable mobility from the vehicle interiors. In the face of all the technology that is being developed for cars, we want to be the great developer of some of the systems that will completely change the physiognomy of the interior of the vehicle as we know it at present, making it a smarter, safer, technological and sustainable space", explains Ernesto Antolin, chairman of Grupo Antolin.
Sales by geographic area
Sales in the different geographic areas in which the company operates suffered the impact of the crisis, albeit with a clear recovery in the second half of the year. It highlights the 6.2% increase in Asia-Pacific revenues, up to €507 million, due to the growth of the business in China. Europe made €2,006 million in income, compared to €2,642 million in the previous year, while the NAFTA region contributed €1,368 million (€1,960 million in 2019). For their part, Mercosur contributed €43 and Africa €51 million.