Deliver Your News to the World

Thule improves net sales by 29.3% and operating profit (EBITA) by 42%


Half Year Financial and Operational Highlights:

Sales up 29.3% to SEK1,966 million (1,520), an increase of 13.4% once adjusted for currency and acquisition effects.

Operating profit (EBITA) before one-off items up 42% to SEK274 million (193), adjusted for currency and acquisition effects an increase of 13.6%.

Strong sales development in all divisions with the exception of Automotive Accessories - the Trailers division shows a 28% year-on-year growth.

Acquisitions of Pewag and Brink, Valley and SportRack Accessories announced during the first half. Completion expected during the third quarter of the year, pending European anti-trust approval.

Acquisition of, the German trailer rental company in May and consolidated into the Trailer division from 1 June 2006.

Further investment into the brand includes consolidation of seven owned Swedish Thule horse trailer brands; grand opening of Thule flagship store in central Berlin.

Anders Pettersson, Chief Executive of Thule AB, commented:

“Thule has delivered strong sales and profit growth, ahead of expectations. Improved sales were assisted during the first half year by favourable winter weather and successful product launches in time for the summer season. Bike carriers such as the Thule EuroWay, Thule Xpress and Thule T2 are selling better than planned. The successful rebranding of the Swedish horse trailer programme into Thule has strengthened Thule’s market position in that segment. ”

“The most important highlights of the half were the acquisitions of Austrian snow chain manufacturer Pewag, the Dutch and US towing companies Brink and Valley Industries as well the Canadian car rack system supplier, SportRack Accessories. Conditional on antitrust approvals for the Brink and Pewag acquisitions, Thule remains on track to double in size, in line with the company’s growth strategy of becoming an SEK6 billion business by 2007”.

Divisional Highlights during the first half year 2006

Division Europe/Asia reported sales of SEK 798 million (523) during the first six months of 2006, an increase of 52% including the sales for the 2005 acquired company Omnistor. The growth in the car rack system operations was underpinned by strong sales development for rear mounted bike carriers:

Sales for the recently launched bike carrier Thule Xpress exceeded expectations and the 2005 introduced Thule EuroWay continues to be a high volume product. The traditional rooftop box sales have slowed after a very good start to the year, while the new soft top box Thule Ranger has generated strong customer demand.

Geographically, sales have been very strong in regions such as Eastern Europe, Benelux, Scandinavia and Spain while the UK market is still weaker than anticipated. The order back log, mainly in the Swedish manufacturing unit in Hillerstorp has resulted in some delivery delays and actions are being taken to accelerate production output.

The business unit Omnistor is developing in line with plan. The order intake is well above last year and there is a strong order book for the forthcoming months. The production of vents has transitioned from Belgium to Poland.

In early July 2006, the division opened its first European flagship store in Berlin with the objective of strengthening brand awareness and getting closer to our end consumers. The flagship store will also be used as training facilities for the extensive European distributor and dealer network.

The North American division (now excluding the North American trailer operations) reported sales of USD 41 million (36) during the first half of the year. The development in the outdoor channel remains strong, also supported by successful promotional activities on billboards and mass media attention. The automotive channel is performing better than last year despite the domestic discussion about higher petrol prices. However, some automotive customers have performed less strongly.

The introduction of the Cargo Management system “Load & Go” continues to progress well and generated high rates from consumers. Sales for the new rear-mounted bike carrier Thule T2 are performing better than forecasted while box sales are in line with expectations.

Sales in the Automotive Accessories division (including OES sales which were previously part of Division Europe/Asia) amounted to SEK 258 million (263). The division is seeking to offset the sharp increase of aluminum prices in particular, through further manufacturing efficiency, productivity gains and price compensations. The target price increases with OEM customers are hard to achieve.

The OES business unit is suffering from an order back log however further actions are underway to shorten delivery lead times.

Division Trailers (including Thule Trailers North American operations) reported sales of SEK 539 million (420), an increase of 28% compared to last year. Sales in all four product segments and in new geographies including North America have improved. The main production hub in Wielen in Poland is running at full capacity and this will continue, despite the expected normal reduction in capacity and manning at this time of the year.

The acquisition of the German rental company facilitates the introduction of its successful Rental concept into continental Europe. The company is based in South West Germany and was consolidated into the division with effect from 1 June 2006. Progress in the North American market has improved both through gained efficiencies, price increases and successful sales programmes.

The transition of the Swedish horse trailer portfolio to the Thule brand was well received in the marketplace and enabled the division to strengthen its leading market position in that segment. Investments in other new markets are paying off, for example securing an important customer contract in France.

Division Snow Chains reported sales of € 9.3 million (8.6). The two consecutive cold winters have triggered earlier and heavier order intake from customers and earlier pre-seasonal invoicing. In order to match the increased levels of demand, measures have been taken to increase chain making capacity e.g. through introduction of a third shift at the Italian production facility in Molteno. Low range assembly production has partially moved to Poland to increase assembly capacity.


The acquisitions of the five companies during the first half year are in line with the Thule growth strategy to double the size of the company by 2007 and become a SEK6 billion business. If approved by European anti-trust authorities, Thule will have reached its target by the end of the current financial year, one year ahead of plan.

Malmö, 24 July, 2006

Thule AB

Download: Interim Result:

About Thule:

The Thule Group is the world leader within Sports Utility Transportation delivering transportation solutions for active families and outdoor enthusiasts wanting to transport their equipment by vehicles safely, easily and in style. The product portfolio comprises load carriers for cars such as rooftop boxes, roof rails and bike carriers. Additionally, the company offers snow chains, trailers as well as accessories for motor homes and caravans. Thule has 2,300 employees at over 20 production and sales units on all major car markets in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Sales in 2005 amounted to SEK 3.2 billion (approx € 345 M). Thule AB is based in Malmö, Sweden, and majority owned by the UK-based private equity firm Candover. More information at


This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.

News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.