LUDWIGSBURG, Germany — Mann+Hummel, the maker of Wix automotive oil, air and fuel filters, increased its 2017 sales by 11.8 percent to $3.6 billion (based on annual exchange rate), compared with 2016.
Earnings before taxes (EBIT) jumped about 60 percent to $170.8 million with an EBIT margin of 4.8 percent.
"We develop and manufacture products with innovative technology for the health and mobility of people. In this process the focus is very clearly on the core expertise of the company, namely filtration," said Kai Knickmann, general manager of original equipment for Mann+Hummel.
"The automotive and mechanical engineering industries are undergoing a fundamental transformation. The same is true for our business model. The drivers are alternative transportation solutions, digitalization and the growing importance of sustainability. The shaping of mobility and industry of the future has seldom been as interesting as it is today, or presented as many opportunities," he added.
In order to take the high dynamism of the automotive industry better into account, Mann+Hummel said it plans to force project-based cooperation within the group.
"We are strengthening the use of interdisciplinary teams with a high level of independence for decisions and cooperation and we are working even closer together at an earlier stage with our customers and suppliers to implement attractive products much more quickly into series. But that also means that a project has to be quickly discontinued if the expectations cannot be met. Against this background, a start-up culture is also possible in a group," the company said.
In 2017 the company invested nearly $123 million in research and development for filtration in the automotive, life sciences and environmental technology fields.
"Every drive technology needs filtration," Mr. Knickmann said. "We stand for a wide product range and openness to new technological ideas. Those who wish to change seamlessly from the monoculture of the combustion engine over to a monoculture of electric drives, will miss huge potential and future opportunities which we cannot possibly foresee today."
In January, the company said, it systematically organized its business model to focus on the two market segments of transportation and life sciences/environment.
Last year the company acquired Wix-Filtron, strengthening its position in the U.S. automotive aftermarket. In this field the aftermarket is traditionally considerably more profitable than the original equipment business, the company said.
The company expects to improve its sales in 2018 in the mid-single digit percentage range together with a slightly positive development for the margin. The operating margin also is expected to hit the mid-single digit percentage range, the company said.