MUNICH, Germany The decline of the global automotive markets has left clear traces in red ink in the quarterly report of automotive supplier Continental AG (Hannover, Germany). Now the company bets its hope on a recovery and on electric cars.
On sales declining by 9.5 percent against Q3 2009 to 5.34 billion euros (about $7.85 billion), the company wrote a high operating loss of 912 million euros. Responsible for the red ink was a writedown on the value of its three electronics-related business divisions. Adjusted by this writedown, the EBIT actually was up 7.8 percent over last years' Q3 and amounted to 423 million euros.
Amidst the automotive downturn which is far from being over, Continental puts its hopes on the industry trend towards electrifying the power train. The company has signed a contract to develop and manufacture the complete electric drive train for a yet unnamed automotive OEM. However, the company will have to overcome another lean period until it will be able to cash in from the development: The electric car planned will only be available for the markets in 2011.
Another development that the company hopes will help to turn the red figures black again is also expected to hit the markets in 2011: It is the 24GHz mid-range radar platform it is offering to support advanced driver assistance systems such as blind spot detection, rear-end collision detection or adaptive cruise control.
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