GKN profits jump on car sales growth

Marion Dakers
ENGINEERING group GKN quadrupled its profit to £363m last year, the firm said yesterday, on the back of strong sales of car and plane parts.

The FTSE 100-listed firm, which makes engines and frames for Airbus and Boeing, said total sales rose 20 per cent to £5.08bn.

“The aerospace market has remained subdued although civil aerospace is now moving into a strong growth phase,” said chief executive Sir Kevin Smith.

“The ramp up of a number of new aircraft programmes and further increases in civil volumes should return aerospace to its strong growth trend.”

The company said car sales are expected to grow five per cent in 2011, with strong demand coming from China and India making up for flat production in Europe.

GKN produced parts for 74.6m light vehicles in 2010 – a 24 per cent rise on the previous year. It reinstated its dividend payments with an end-of-year payment of 3.5p per share.

Evolution Securities said the firm was well-placed to double its earnings per share in 2011, possibly through acquisitions, after producing “a very solid set of numbers”.

“The market outlook remains positive and we expect further positive momentum,” added Investec analyst Andrew Gollan.

GKN investors reacted badly to the figures, sending the shares down four per cent to 201.50p.