Magna posts higher income and record sales in fourth quarter
Magna International, the Canadian car parts giant which has a new factory in Telford, has reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, driven by higher sales in Europe and the launch of new cars for BMW and Jaguar.
Magna's total sales rose 12 per cent to £7.48 billion, its highest ever, beating analysts' estimates of £7.26 billion.
Magna also assembles cars under contract from motor vehicle manufacturers and counts General Motors Co, Volkswagen AG , BMW and Ford Motor Co among its top customers.
Sales at Magna's vehicle assembly business in Graz, Austria, more than doubled during the reported quarter, helped by the 2017 launch of the BMW 5-Series and Jaguar's compact SUV, the E-Pace.
During the reported quarter, light vehicle production increased seven per cent in Europe and fell five per cent in North America.
Car registrations in the European Union rose 3.4 per cent in 2017 to more than 15 million vehicles for the first time since 2007.
Don Walker, Magna's chief executive officer, said: "I'm pleased with our 2017 results which were records for sales, earnings per share, and operating cash flow.
"Looking forward, we continue to execute our strategy for long-term growth focused on the future of mobility. We have also realigned our management structure to further enhance collaboration and strengthen our position as a provider of mobility solutions."
Vince Galifi, Magna's chief financial officer, said: "Our strong earnings growth and cash flow have enabled us to return significant amounts of capital to shareholders. Our 20 per cent dividend increase, the ninth consecutive annual dividend increase, reflects the confidence that both management and our Board have in Magna's future."
Magna's subsidiary Cosma Castings is creating 300 jobs in Telford with the opening of a new castings factory in the town to support Jaguar Land Rover, while the company also owns pressings manufacturer Stadco, which has operations in Shrewsbury, Telford and Llanfyllin.