Press Releases, 10.05.2017

Preh is growing worldwide and investing heavily in the technology of the future

Promotion to the major league, generating sales of 1 billion plus - total investment of EUR 29 million in Bad Neustadt alone

Bad Neustadt a. D. Saale. Preh GmbH can look back on a very successful business year in 2016 as it continues to invest heavily in the future, especially at its headquarters in Bad Neustadt. As a result of organic growth of 14%, as well as the acquisition of TechniSat Automotive (now Preh Car Connect), the Preh Group increased its turnover from EUR 763 million in 2015 to around EUR 1.18 billion and gained promotion to the major league of companies generating sales of at least one billion.

The automotive supplier has yet again succeeded in further increasing its earning power despite high levels of investment. At EUR 80.6 million, Preh GmbH’s operating profit before interest and taxes (EBIT), but excluding Preh Car Connect, was approximately 16% above the previous year’s figure of EUR 69.6 million. This positive business development was accompanied by a further expansion of Preh’s global workforce. At the end of the 2016 financial year, the Group’s total number of employees had risen to around 6,620, an increase of 35% on the 4,900 employees in 2015. Personnel still increased by 12% even after excluding Preh Car Connect, which was acquired in 2016. This upward trend also applies to the Bad Neustadt headquarters, where 135 new jobs were created, increasing the number of employees there by around 8.3% to 1,771 at the end of 2016, up from 1,636 at the end of 2015. Preh’s management also expects the growth trajectory to continue in 2017, despite last year’s strong performance. In the first quarter of 2017, Preh once again exceeded the previous year’s turnover and again expects double-digit growth for the year as a whole, including Preh Car Connect GmbH.

At the presentation of the balance sheet figures, Christoph Hummel, the President and CEO of Preh, said: “At Preh, 2016 was characterized by strong organic growth, as well as by the pioneering acquisition of Preh Car Connect. We have carried this momentum into the current fiscal year and can now offer our automotive customers a significantly extended range of products which, in addition to driver control systems and electronic control units for battery management in electric vehicles, now also includes connectivity and telematics solutions. This opens up totally new opportunities for growth. At the same time, in 2016 we also completed a very successful fiscal year in the Automation segment and, with the acquisition of M&R Automation which has now been announced, we created the basis for a completely independent positioning of Preh IMA Automation. In 2017, both automotive supply and the automation business are maintaining their strong growth, so we shall continue to hire highly qualified employees worldwide.”

Particularly pleasing is Preh’s growth at all its locations in Europe, North America and China. The German locations also continue to benefit greatly from the market successes of the Preh Group in the business areas automotive electronics and automation. Preh is therefore continuing to invest heavily – with the support of its Chinese shareholder Joyson – in the expansion of its head office in Bad Neustadt.

EUR 6.5 million investment in new e-mobility laboratory

After the inauguration of Preh’s new development center and the announcement of the construction from scratch of a new independent location for Preh IMA Automation (PIA), the automotive supplier and automation specialist has made its next decision for a future-oriented investment. Preh will invest around EUR 6.5 million in setting up a new e-mobility laboratory for its Electromobility business segment at its headquarters in Bad Neustadt. In the second half of 2017, the laboratory is scheduled to begin working on the quality qualification of products for the e-mobility sector, especially for high-voltage applications. As a result, total investment in the three most recent large-scale Preh Group projects in Bad Neustadt amounts to around EUR 29 million. The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology explicitly welcomes Preh’s considerable willingness to invest in the Lower Franconia region and holds out the prospect of supporting Preh’s future-oriented research and development 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 Christoph 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.”

PIA’s independent positioning and new construction in Bad Neustadt

Following the acquisition of EVANA Automation in Evansville, USA (now PIA Evansville) and the strong organic growth of the automation business in 2016, Joyson and Preh are taking into account Preh IMA Automation’s significantly increased market presence with a completely independent set-up. PIA Automation Holding GmbH has therefore recently been established as a new management company. Both 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. In order to provide sufficient space for the planned operational growth, PIA will move from Bad Neustadt to its new location at the Altenberg industrial estate by the end of 2018, where PIA’s automation specialists will have a production area of around 10,000 square meters. The new location will create state-of-the-art workplaces for the 215 PIA employees currently working in Bad Neustadt. The new headquarters will also provide sufficient space for further growth and new employees. This investment amounts to around EUR 10 million.

Hummel appointed to Joyson’s Board of Directors 

Against the backdrop of the Preh Group’s successful growth story and great importance within the Joyson Group, at the beginning of May 2017 Preh CEO Christoph Hummel was appointed to the Joyson Electronics’ Board of Directors, the listed company’s highest decision-making body. Joyson founder and majority shareholder Jeff Wang explained that “The Preh management team around Christoph Hummel is doing an excellent job. Within our group, the Preh Group sets standards with regard to product quality, innovation and market growth. It is therefore both logical and also a vote of great confidence that with Christoph Hummel Preh is now also represented on the Joyson Board.”