Preh sets new investments in the wake of record sales

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Preh Group, the Germany-based supplier of injection molded electronic controls to automotive companies, achieved record sales of around 1.18 billion euros ($1.28 billion) in 2016, up from 763 million euros ($847 million) in 2015, the company announced.

Despite high levels of investment, operating profit before interest in taxes was approximately 16 percent above the previous year's figure of 69.6 million euros ($77.2 million). Moreover, at the end of the 2016 financial year, the group's ranks had swelled to around 6,620, up from 4,900 employees in 2015.

President and CEO Christoph Hummel attributed the company’s robust performance, which, he said, has continued in the first quarter of 2017, both to strong organic growth and to a number of successful acquisitions and strategic decisions made by Preh.

One such decision was the creation and spin-off of PIA Automation Holding GmbH, a strategic management holding company in which all the group's automation activities have been bundled, which is headquartered in Frankfurt.

Both the operating company Preh IMA Automation and M&R Automation in Grambach near Graz in Austria, which was acquired at the beginning of May 2017, are now part of PIA Automation Holding GmbH.

Hummel also announced that new investments are pending: the company plans to spend around 6.5 million euros ($7.2 million) in setting up a new e-mobility laboratory for its electromobility business segment at its headquarters in Bad Neustadt. The new laboratory is scheduled to be up and running in the second half of 2017.

The focus will be on the quality qualification of products for the e-mobility sector, especially for high-voltage applications.

This brings the amount invested in the three most recent large-scale Preh Group projects in Bad Neustadt to around 29 million euros ($32.2 million). The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology "welcomes Preh's considerable willingness to invest in the Lower Franconia region’"and has indicated possibilities for supporting these projects.

"As an automotive supplier operating globally in an extremely tough competitive environment, we have to weigh investment decisions very carefully and ask ourselves repeatedly which locations demand our focus and attention," said Hummel.

"However, especially in research and development, we are convinced that Bad Neustadt should continue to drive our innovative strength. We are therefore also very grateful for the support from the Bavarian State Ministry to make the region an even stronger center for the mobility of tomorrow, which in turn will open up opportunities for further jobs in Bad Neustadt."

To accommodate future growth, the automation business will move from Bad Neustadt to a new location at the Altenberg industrial estate by the end of 2018. Representing an investment of around 10 million euros ($11.1 million), the new facilities for PIA's automation specialists will boast a production area of around 10,000 square meters.