SAF-HOLLAND S.A. reported that for the first nine months of the fiscal year, sales climbed to $233 million (previous year: $140 million) in the third quarter and adjusted EBIT rose to $15.5 million (previous year: $3.4 million). In the first nine months, the Group generated sales of $626.6 million, corresponding to growth of 45.1% while adjusted EBIT increased to $35.4 million (previous year: $1.6 million).
“The SAF-HOLLAND Group made significant progress in the third quarter,” said Rudi Ludwig, CEO of SAF-HOLLAND. “We will even achieve some of our objectives sooner than expected. Of course, increasing global demand has helped but, most importantly, the corporate strategy we have adopted has been affirmed. The restructuring measures of the last two years are clearly showing their impact. Our company is lean and strong and we are internationally positioned with good growth potential in all our core markets.”
All three business units contributed to the sales increase to $626.6 million (previous year: $431 million), with the trailer area now showing increasing recovery compared to the truck area. The Group generated 48.1% of its sales in Europe (previous year: 47.2%), 45.4% in North America (previous year: 47.3%) and 6.5% in other regions (previous year: 5.5%). The gross margin improved to 19.1% (previous year: 16.8%) in the period from January through September. In the third quarter, it was reduced as a result of increases in material costs, which could not be immediately recovered.
SAF-HOLLAND is continuing to focus on optimizing inventory management at its plants for the purpose of improving its cash flow and liquidity development on an ongoing basis. As a result of increasing demand, the number of employees increased as of the reporting date of September 30, 2010, to 2,742 including temporary employees (December 31, 2009: 2,331).
The Trailer Systems business unit almost reached the break-even level in the third quarter with an adjusted EBIT of minus $134,000. Demand continued to increase in both North America and Europe. Overall, the business unit increased its sales in the first nine months by 74.6%. Thanks to the increase in sales in conjunction with a reduction in costs, the gross margin improved to 5.7% (previous year: -3.6%). The business unit contributed 49.6% (previous year: 41.2%) to total sales.
Sales in the Powered Vehicle Systems business unit were reduced in the third quarter by the usual July plant closures by major customers in North America. Despite this seasonal effect, demand in the truck sector continues to grow. In the first nine months, the business unit's sales increased by 28.2%.
The Aftermarket Business Unit recorded stable sales development in the third quarter. A cooperative agreement was reached with truck manufacturer IVECO to sell replacement parts via its distribution network in certain markets. SAF-HOLLAND will thus strengthen its selling power, particularly in Italy and North Africa.