How subcontractor Plastivaloire wants to get out of the whole automotive business

The year-on-year increase in new vehicle purchases in France, with a decrease of almost 10% in 2022 and an increase of 16% in 2023, is not a matter of subcontractors and equipment manufacturers. In fact, they are trying to diversify into industries other than automobiles.

Automotive industry: sales look uncertain in the French market in 2024

At the plastics manufacturer from Touraine Plastivaloire, this desire to no longer put all our eggs in one basket will have even greater resonance between now and 2030.

We let’s look at all the sectors where there is growth potential for our plastics processing business, specifies Antoine Doutriaux, CEO of the group. We have identified several attractive ones such as heating and air conditioning. We also do not rule out making acquisitions in order to move forward faster.”

The manager of the group, based in Langeais in Indre-et-Loire, will not say more about these new ways of diversification, due to commercial confidentiality. The goal pursued by Antoine Doutriaux is more definite. It is still 80% dependent on the automotive market, but is considered overexposed due to the major changes underway, especially in the field of electric motors. To improve its resilience, Plastivoire now wants to rapidly expand its customer portfolio. By 2030, the share of diversification should in principle be between 25 and 30% of the total turnover, which last year amounted to 834 million euros.

Injection pumps and supermarket trolleys

Antoine Doutriaux, appointed in 2021 to head this family, ETI still 60% owned by the family of the founder Patrick Findeling (the remaining 40% is listed on Euronext Paris), significantly accelerated this strategy, which is already taking place outside the automotive sector, which remains his trademark.

The group, which counts among its customers all European manufacturers, as well as the American Packard and General Motors, supplies them with plastic parts for the interior (dashboards, etc.) and exterior (lighting, bumpers).

Facing two main rival groups, France’s Novares and Spain’s Maia, it operates 26 factories in Europe (including 11 in France) and four in North America and employs 6,000 people. Apart from the automotive sector, Plastivaloire is also active in the medical equipment market. In particular, it produces injection pumps for Fresenius Kabi France, the French branch of the German healthcare giant.

Touraine ETI is also present in the electronics segment with the production of Liveboxes for Sagem. Plastivaloire also includes the household appliance manufacturer Krupps in its client portfolio, to which it mainly supplies plastic parts for its coffee machines.

Another booming market is photovoltaics. The group is thus a subcontractor of the French integration of GSE, the European leader in the installation of solar panels in residential buildings. Since the acquisition of US plastics manufacturer Transnav in 2018, Plastivaloire has direct access to the automotive and mass distribution markets across the Atlantic. Le Tourangeau is therefore a supplier of the Target chain, for which it manufactures trolleys for supermarkets.

High debt

The diversification of Plastivaloire and the acceleration of its expected growth also responds to the group’s need to reduce debt. According to Antoine Doutriaux, it is even the priority of priorities.

Partly due to the takeover of Transnav, the debt was €222m last year. ” In 2022, we were still at 240 million eurosexplains Antoine Doutriaux, at this rate our debt should be wiped out by 2030 “.

Another encouraging indicator for the group is an increase in Ebitda to 8.4% of turnover in 2023, after the decline seen during the health crisis in 2019 and 2020. The group therefore expects to return to 10% this year, which is its usual pre-Covid financial performance -19.