New boss pledges growth for automotive supplier

Autins Group

The growth potential of a Warwickshire automotive supplier remains attractive, despite a turbulent start to the year.

Michael Jennings, new chief executive of Autins Group, said the business was focused on moving forward after its tough first half.

It has been working hard to secure new business with German OEMs and this is now paying dividends, he said.

Mr Jennings was thrust into the hot seat in March after the sudden resignation of long-time chief executive Jim Griffin in February.

The Rugby-based group saw 30% wiped off the value of the business in February following Mr Griffin’s departure when it emerged that a major customer’s decision to revise volumes was likely to lead to materially lower results than market expectations.

The group had braced shareholders in March to expect lower than anticipated levels of growth in 2017 and so it proved.

It was something of a baptism of fire for Mr Jennings, however, he said his focus remained on generating new, profitable business for the group.

“I came in with my eyes open but then I am confident that the business can succeed,” he said.

“Second half margins look strong and the growth potential for the business is very attractive.”

He said the group, which manufactures noise insulation materials for the automotive sector, said it was looking to learn from its successful relationship with Jaguar Land Rover and map the model onto German firms such as BMW and Volkswagen.

“We are looking to focus resources where there are the best opportunities,” said Mr Jennings.

“We have been getting technical appraisals to allow us to quote for new business. This has been achieved and we hope it will pay dividends.”

With operations in Germany and Sweden, the firm has the capacity to meet any demands and it is also looking at the possibility of extending its product range to balance its offer beyond the automotive sector.

It is also looking into diversifying its Neptune product and supplying it as a material rather than a finished product.

In its latest set of interims, the company revealed that the Neptune product had been awarded its first set of orders, spread across five OEMs, eight vehicle firms and 67 parts suppliers.

It also said good progress had been made by its German business, including winning a multi platform component order from a major European automotive group.

Non-automotive sales continued to show steady double digit growth year-on-year, it added.