Linamar eyes growth outside of North America

Linamar is focusing more on markets outside of North America, although CEO Linda Hasenfratz says the Detroit automakers will continue to be important customers.

March 7, 2012   by CANADIAN PRESS

GUELPH, Ont.: Linamar Corp. is focusing more on markets outside of North America, although the big three Detroit automakers will continue to be important customers, CEO Linda Hasenfratz told a conference call to discuss the company’s fourth-quarter results.

Growth outside North America is a priority as emerging markets post strong economic growth, ushering in a new middle class that is eager to buy vehicles, Hasenfratz said.

“To that end almost 30% of new business wins in 2011 were outside of North America with two-thirds of that being Asia,” she said. “Asia is by far the dominant market for vehicle production, meaning we will continue to prioritize growth in this region.”

Business in hand will triple Linamar’s presence in Europe over the next five years – “an important element in offsetting any market weakness given uncertainty in that region,” she added.

Guelph, Ont.-based Linamar, which ranks second to Magna International among Canadian auto parts makers, manufactures highly engineered modules and systems for engines, transmissions and driveline systems in cars and trucks.

The company also makes components for other industrial customers, including the wind energy industry.

During the fourth quarter, Linamar’s net income rose to $27 million on $718 million of sales. During the same period a year earlier, net income was $21.4 million on sales of $593.7 million.

The automotive segment’s sales increased by $88.1 million, or 15.8%, to $647 million, as a result of new manufacturing programs and higher volumes.

Sales at its industrial equipment segment more than doubled to $71 million, with an increase of $36.2 million.

© 2012 The Canadian Press

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