Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 20
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE
QA Ahead of the pack
New Plastic Omnium chief expects to beat the market for the next 3 years
rench supplier Plastic Omnium
expects to outperform the global automotive market by an average of 5 percentage points a year
and have annual free cash flow of
more than 200 million euros between 2020 and 2022. This comes
after its operating margin dipped to
about 6 percent, from a forecast of
8.4 percent last year. The company's
new boss, Laurent Favre, outlined his
plans for the maker of fuel systems,
body panels and front-end modules in
an interview with Automotive News Europe News Editor Peter Sigal.
What is your first task at Plastic Omnium?
It's about continuing the successful
growth of the company. Plastic Omnium had 1.5 billion euros in revenue in
2001, when Laurent Burelle took over
the CEO position, and in 2019 we will be
at more than 9 billion euros, which is a
fantastic story. The automotive industry
is facing many major changes, but I am
convinced that there are great opportunities for Plastic Omnium. We have a
very healthy balance sheet and we are a
market leader in all our businesses. We
have a global footprint with more than
130 factories; we have more than 20 r&d
Meet the boss
❚ NAME: Laurent Favre
ITLE: Plastic Omnium CEO
❚ AGE: 48
Maintaining profitability in
a slowing global market.
centers around the world. Our base is a
perfect fit with the automotive industry.
Do you have a vision for the company
in five years, or even longer term?
One of the characteristics of Plastic Omnium is that we are long-term driven,
mainly because we have a very stable
and solid shareholder structure. I believe
that the future of mobility is clean and
connected, and that is where we want to
play a major role. We think we are still
able to gain market share, but the next
step will be to increase content per car.
That means integrating functions and
working with customers in more and
more complex assemblies.
Could you provide an example of integrated components?
Today, Plastic Omnium is producing
products; tomorrow we want to produce
functions. That means integrating radar,
lidar or lighting, for example, into our exterior systems. We are doing that in our
cooperation with Hella for bumpers and
with Brose for doors. That is really the
transformation we are working on, from
a product supplier to a function supplier.
How do you see the European market
developing in the future?
Europe has two main challenges: First,
it's saturated, so volume growth opportunities are limited. Second, because of
CO2 targets and local pollution regulations, all the engine options are available but consumers are a bit lost in this
complexity. For those reasons we think
the market will decline in 2020. We are
adapting our cost structure, but we will
continue to grow by increasing content
per vehicle thanks to our innovations.
Will you be hurt by Brexit?
We have factories in the UK and Jaguar
Land Rover is one of our major customers, but we produce in the UK for their
UK factories and in Slovakia for the
factory they have there, so we are not
dependent on what is happening with
Brexit. One of our strengths is that we
produce where the customers are, so we
can balance risks that way.
The pressure to be sustainable is rising. As a company that uses plastics,
are you working on those issues?
We produce systems with functions integrated. Therefore, plastics are only 9 percent of our total purchase. On the other
hand, delivering plastic components such
as bumpers and tailgates is a huge contribution for automakers to lower emissions.
These parts are lighter than equivalent
steel parts. We have also been decisive in
the area of corporate and social responsibility, and part of this is reducing CO2
emissions not only in how we produce but
also in our complete supply chain.
How do you see the company's three
main business units developing?
In exteriors, in addition to integrating functions, we are focusing on lightweighting
and aerodynamics, which helps customers
improve their CO2 emissions and boost the
range for electric cars. In clean energy, we
have solutions for hybrid technology, such
as fuel tanks for plug-in hybrids that are
very complex. We have also been investing
in hydrogen fuel cell technology. In frontend modules, with our HBPO joint venture
(with Hella), we are developing new modules to increase the content per car. ANE
Automotive News Europe - February 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Europe - February 2020
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Intro
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover1
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover2
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 3
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Contents
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 5
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 6
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Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 8
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Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 33
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 34
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover3
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover4