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Continental's blow molding acquisitions will help with future small engines

By: Kerri Jansen

April 4, 2014

One of the world’s biggest auto suppliers is shoring up its position in the blow molding industry. Continental AG’s ContiTech division has announced it is buying Inotec Innovative Technologie GmbH and Präzisionstechnik Geithain GmbH, both blow molding equipment companies located in the German state of Saxony, for an undisclosed amount.

Both Inotec and PTG are longtime suppliers to ContiTech, the company said in an April 1 news release. The acquisition was orchestrated in response to increasing demand for blow molded plastic turbocharger hoses, said company spokesperson Mario Töpfer.

As automakers increasingly opt for smaller, lighter, more energy-efficient engines, turbochargers are used to get more power out of a downsized engine.

“Energy efficiency [equals] downsizing,” Töpfer said. “Engines will need more turbocharger hoses to deliver the same power. So we expect the demand will grow.”

“We have been working with Intotec for years now. For the expected growth it would be better to have the company a part of ContiTech,” he said.

The acquisition allows ContiTech more control over capabilities it had previously sourced to outside companies.

“In Europe, a lot of focus for improving engines has been going to adding turbocharging, and also going in that similar direction here in the United States,” said Kevin Riddell, who follows powertrains for LMC Automotive. “[ContiTech’s acquisition] just helps to bring a little more competency and variety within their own product line.”

Other blow molding opportunities are likely to develop as the industry looks at swapping traditionally metallic components for lighter-weight plastic ones, he added.

Inotec specializes in tooling and special machine construction for blow molding, including prototype construction and sampling. PTG is an Inotec supplier of components for machines and blow molding tools.

Inotec, based in Kohren-Sahlis, and PTG of Geithain together employ about 80; jobs will continue under new ownership, the company said.

Automotive News, a sister publication of Plastics News, ranks Continental as the third-largest auto supplier in the world, with company-reported sales of around 33.3 billion euros ($45.6 billion) in 2013. The company currently employs around 178,000 in 49 countries.