Grupo Antolin withstands the COVID-19 crisis and opens a new Innovation Center in China
Grupo Antolin, global supplier of technological solutions for car interiors, has demonstrated that it has a sound, resilient and flexible business that is capable of withstanding the greatest crisis ever experienced by the automotive industry. Over the past few months, the company’s priority has been to protect the health of all its employees and ensure business continuity and liquidity, despite the severe market disruption.
The COVID-19 crisis triggered a historic 65% collapse in global vehicle production in April, when the pandemic led to the closure of virtually every car manufacturing plant in the world. Global vehicle production fell by 33% in the first half of the year. Consequently, Grupo Antolin's sales between January and June stood at €1,553 million, compared to the €2,678 million in the same period of the previous year.
The fall in sales and the limited time to adapt the cost structure caused the gross operating profit (EBITDA) to stand at €52 million in the first half of the year, compared to €226 million in the same period of the previous year.
After the severe impact in March and April, Grupo Antolin's activity resumed in a completely safe way, applying its COVID-19 prevention protocol. Currently, all plants are operational and revenue in July has performed positively. Analysts forecast a progressive market recovery if the evolution of the pandemic so allows. However, they estimate that we will not return to 2019 production figures until 2022 or 2023.
In this context of future uncertainty in the industry, Grupo Antolin will continue applying its action plan against COVID-19 with two clear priorities:
1. To protect the health and ensure the safety of all employees. The company is permanently monitoring the pandemic and updating its prevention plan following the recommendations of the health authorities.
2. To preserve liquidity by controlling investments and stocks, as well as monitoring costs in order to deal with possible fluctuations in demand.
Grupo Antolin has a sound financial position from which to deal with new market disruptions, with a liquidity of €452 million between cash and undrawn loans, as of September 1. The company has improved its liquidity after receiving loans within the framework of the COVID-19 financial support plans implemented by the Governments: €51 million in Spain and France, and £20 million in the United Kingdom.
New Innovation Center in China
Despite the crisis caused by the pandemic, Grupo Antolin continues to transform its business and implement its strategy. The company has just opened a new Innovation Center in Shanghai (China), which will strengthen its R&D, innovation and technological development capabilities in the largest automotive market in the world. In this way, the company can better and more quickly adapt to the needs and requirements of its customers in China, especially in projects focused on the new electric mobility.
To take advantage of this innovative environment and strengthen its relationship with its customers, the Innovation Center houses the new Antolin headquarters in China, bringing together all the corporate departments and the engineering and technological development teams. The center has an advanced electronics laboratory and a modern showroom where customers can see the company’s latest technological advances and most important products, both physically and by using virtual reality devices. In total, more than 100 people work at the company’s new Innovation Center.
“Although the priority is to deal with the crisis, COVID-19 will not stop us. We want to lead, from the vehicle interior, the change being experienced by the automotive industry, which will be accelerated by this crisis. We continue to launch new projects and initiatives -the best example being the new Innovation Center- as part of the transformation we started some time ago, with the aim of strengthening our position as a global supplier of technological solutions for the interior. We continue working to add more value to our products by integrating electronics, lighting solutions, decorative elements and the new technologies that cars of the future will incorporate”, said Ernesto Antolin, Chairman of Grupo Antolin.
In July, Grupo Antolin announced a strategic partnership with the German supplier of built-in electronic systems, AED Engineering, with the aim of improving its electronics capabilities. This company will reinforce the work of Antolin's Electronic Systems Business Unit, collaborating in the development of electronics for automotive manufacturers' projects, as well as in the search for new advanced solutions to enhance the product portfolio.
Sales by Region
All of the company’s regions felt the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the first half of the year. Europe saw revenue of €776 million, compared to €1,379 million in the previous year, and the NAFTA region contributed €563 million (€1,017 million in 2019). Asia-Pacific performed better due to the recovery of the Chinese market since April: sales fell by 19% to €179 million.