In the first half of 2015, the Mahle Group achieved sales of EUR 5.53bn (US$6.17bn), up 12.5% year on year. At EUR324.5m, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were up 17.2%. EBIT margin rose to 5.9%.

"This half-year result has exceeded our own expectations. We need to bear in mind that the high exchange rate effects have had a positive impact on our business," said Wolf-Henning Scheider, chairman of the management board and CEO.

"For the year as a whole, Mahle anticipates an overall growth of about 15%, amounting to approximately EUR11.4 to 11.6bn. "The course we have set ourselves is paying off," said Scheider.

During the first half of the year, Mahle grew in all business segments and regions except in South America.

There was little momentum in the European vehicle market, where Mahle currently generates around 51% of total sales. While the Italian and Spanish markets were showing clear signs of recovery, they could not compensate the strong decline in Eastern Europe and Russia in particular (-26%).

"The present situation is less than encouraging. Nevertheless, one should not underestimate the potential of this market. Above average growth can be expected there in the medium term," said Scheider.

Mahle increased North America sales by around 19% in the first half of 2015 and generated approximately 24% of group sales in this market. "We were able to take advantage of the boost in this region, which - at a rate of 3% for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles - is currently showing the strongest growth," said Scheider. Production of medium-weight and heavy-duty commercial vehicles rose 8.5%.

A few weeks ago, Mahle commissioned two new Mexican locations in Ramos Arizpe and Celaya, where air conditioning modules and air cleaner systems for North and South America are manufactured. By end of 2015, Mahle will have more than 8,000 employees at 10 locations in Mexico.

The Asian market has clearly lost momentum. Nevertheless, Mahle was able to counteract the trend and increase sales by over 22%. While the decline in commercial vehicle production was particularly noticeable in China, the Indian market recovered significantly in this segment.

"Despite its current restrained performance, Asia still remains the number one growth market with approximately 19% of our group sales today. Consequently, we must and will continue to vigorously expand our business in this region," said Scheider.

Over the next few years, Mahle will be supplying a major local manufacturer in China with cooling modules for two families of petrol, turbocharged engines.

Development remained difficult in Latin America where Mahle currently generates only around 6% of total sales. Nonetheless, the group performed well although vehicle production in the region is expected to shrink by around 16% this year.

"South America still remains a market with great potential even though the current situation is extremely difficult. It would therefore be a mistake to write off this region," said Scheider.

Overall, the negative developments in the key regions of the world are having a dampening effect on global vehicle production. As a result, the company is only expecting a subdued increase of 1.7% to about 89m units, which still corresponds to a new all-time high in vehicle production.

The half-year result included the first-time consolidation of Letrika Group and Amovis, with sales totalling EUR110m.

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