Cie Automotive, the fast-growing Spanish auto parts maker, posted a 20% jump in 2007 net profits to EUR50.6m, boosted by expansion and acquisitions in emerging markets. Revenues increased 33.3% to EUR1.27bn.

Cie said EBITDA in its auto parts business increased 18.6% to EUR156m on sales up 18.4% to EUR1.05bn.

Its biofuels division posted EBITDA of EUR1.3m on sales of EUR52.3m. The company did not provide comparative figures for 2006 and was quiet about the impact that growing problems in the global bioenergy industry could have on its business.

Spanish bioethanol producer Abengoa said recently that rising raw material prices and falling demand would hurt margins this year and could force it to cancel scheduled manufacturing projects.

Cie attributed its earnings hike to the "good performance" of its franchises in Brasil, Mexico, Czech Republic, Portugal and Romania where it has beefed up with a slew of acquisitions in recent years.
In January, Cie said it expected turnover to rise 30% to EUR1.7bn by 2010, driven by acquisitions in western Europe, Russia and India.

Expansion in bioenergy will also help fuel sales, it said, adding that it is on track to produce 700,000 tonnes of biodiesel this year, through factories in Spain, Italy and Latin America.

"The group is well positioned to benefit from the opportunities that the automotive and biofuels sectors is offering," Cie's chief executive Ignacio Martin said in the statement, adding that Cie would continue to snap up companies with the "adequate size and technological capacity" to drive its business forward.

Ivan Castano Freeman