Fuchs Profits Soared in 2002


Fuchs Petrolub AG yesterday reported record net income of Euro 24.1 million (U.S. $26.4 million) in 2002 – an increase of 173 percent from 2001, thanks mainly to consolidation of its former joint venture in Germany.

In addition to the increased profit, Fuchs recorded sales growth of 13.3 percent – to Euro 1.07 billion – and an improvement in operating margins. The Mannheim, Germany, company noted that its year-end results stood in sharp contrast to the global lubricants industry, where overall lube demand grew a scant 0.3 percent in 2002, according to Fuchs own estimates.

Fuchs external growth contributed an 11.3 percent increase in sales, mostly due to the fact that 2002 was the first full year of operations since it bought out RWE-DEA, its former partner in the Fuchs DEA Schmierstoffe joint venture. The company had internal growth of 5.8 percent, with sales in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa showing especially robust improvement of 20 percent. Currency fluctuations reduced sales revenue by 3.8 percent.

Fuchs noted that the mix of its business shifted last year. Although sales of both industrial and automotive products rose, they accounted for 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of 2002 sales, compared to 65 percent and 35 percent in 2001. Management said the automotive side grew faster because the former joint venture does proportionately more of its business in that segment. The company also increased sales of premium automotive lubes for factory fill, both in Germany and abroad.

More sales of premium products helped operating margins to swell to 8.5 percent of sales – up from 6.8 percent in 2001.

Fuchs employed 4,081 people on Dec. 31, up from 3,871 a year earlier. Of the new total, 1,156 work in Germany.

Management said last years performance has carried over into the first few months of 2003. Sales for the first quarter of the current year were Euro 263.4 million, down less than 1 percent from the same period of 2002. The company projects sales of Euro 1.1 billion for the current year and favorable earnings.

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