By Luci Ceferri, Automotive News Europe
Cologne, Germany -- BMW AG, French plastic supplier Plastic Omnium Co., the Polytec Group from Austria and Swedish retailer Bilia AB benefited most from the general recovery of the global auto market.
For this success, the four companies were recognised at the Automotive News Europe Congress, 30 June, as leaders who have increased their shareholder value in the last 12- and 36-month periods.
BMW topped all other European automakers by increasing its shareholder value 73 percent in the past 12 months and by 76 percent over the past three years, according to the Automotive News Europe/PricewaterhouseCoopers Transaction Services Shareholder Value Index.
Overall, the European auto sector generated a 47 percent increase in the last 12 months but still lost 13 percent over a three-year period.
BMW's No. 1 strategy to cut costs whilst expanding its product range and establishing environmentally measures through its Efficient Dynamics program, paid off, helped too by a general rebound for premium automakers. This was BMW's first win in the 11 years of the ANE/PWC's survey.
Austrian polyurethane and plastic parts supplier Polytec Group, another new entry, saw its shareholder value increase 182 percent in the last 12 months, over four times better than the sector index, which grew 45 percent in the period.
Last year's winner in the supplier category, front-end specialist Plastic Omnium, kept the lead over the three-year period, with a shareholder value which increased 150 percent, according to the ANE/PwC index.
Laurent Hebenstreit, CFO of Plastic Omnium's automotive division, said the company put itself into position to succeed by starting a cost-cutting program in the first quarter of 2008, months ahead of the drastic decline in auto production that Europe faced in the summer of that year.
Among European dealer groups, Bilia has a strong history of success, having received four of the 15 retailer awards given in the past 10 years.
The Swedish retailer this year lengthened its winning stretch, receiving both dealer awards. Bilia rose above the rest with a shareholder value rise of 105 percent in the last 12 months and 90 percent in the past three years, according to the ANE/PwC index.
Bilia CEO Jan Pettersson told the Congress that the crisis forced him to cut staff by 20 percent at Scandinavia's largest car retailer. His biggest challenge had been keeping the remaining 80 percent of staff happy and motivated.
"Our employees have done an enormous job," Pettersson said. "If you are not motivated, you cannot satisfy your customer and customer satisfaction is the key factor for future success in the dealer business."
Overall, retailers monitored by ANE and PwC had a negative shareholder return of 2.4 percent over the last 12 months and of 30 percent over the last 36 months, making Bilia's success even more striking."