Wolfgang Schäfer’s tenure as chief financial officer of German automotive technology company and tyre maker Continental ended abruptly on Wednesday amidst ongoing investigations into the supply of illegal defeat devices for diesel engines, but he’s not the only former Continental manager in the prosecutor’s sights. A representative from the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Hannover announced yesterday that they’re also investigating former chief executive officer Elmar Degenhart and a further ex-board member linked to the Powertrain division, as well as two employees below board level.
During an extraordinary meeting held yesterday, the Continental AG Supervisory Board agreed to mutually terminate Wolfgang Schäfer’s appointment as chief financial officer and member of the company’s Executive Board, effective immediately. Continental states that Schäfer’s departure from the company is linked to investigations by the public prosecutor’s office in Hannover, Germany, into the use of illegal defeat devices in diesel engines and shortcomings from Continental’s side in the ongoing investigations.
Anniversary year ups and downs: As it marks one and a half centuries in the business, Continental reports that it has “set the strategic course for the next successful chapter in its history by making its previously announced structural adjustments” during Q3 2021. But the delivery situation for electronic components also worsened during the quarter, and Continental says this “had a significant impact on sales and earnings” that could only be partially offset by sales volumes within its aftermarket tyre and industrial product businesses.
Continental has initiated a restructure of its management following a meeting of its Supervisory Board on Thursday. Board members Helmut Matschi and Frank Jourdan will leave the company prematurely. Matschi (58) and Jourdan (61) were originally to stay in position until 2024. As of January 1, 2022, the company will retain only five board members. The group will also integrate its activities into three corporate divisions: Automotive, Tires and ContiTech.
Continental has readjusted the full-year 2019 outlook for its tyre-making Rubber Group, primarily in response to declining global car and light vehicle production. It has also readjusted the outlook for its Automotive Group business for the same reason.
The foundation stone for Continental’s new headquarters in Hannover, Germany is now in place, and the company says its construction project is on schedule. Chief executive officer Dr Elmar Degenhart and Executive Board members Dr Ariane Reinhart and Wolfgang Schäfer hosted a ceremony to mark the occasion at the construction site last Wednesday.
Sales within the Tire division at Continental failed to reach the previous year’s level during the first three months of 2018. Tire division sales declined 4.4 per cent to 2.64 billion euros during the quarter, however Continental calculates that they would have risen 1.0 per cent had exchange-rate effects and changes in the scope of consolidation not influenced the result.
In an interview published by German financial daily Börsen-Zeitung on Saturday, chief financial officer of Continental AG, Wolfgang Schäfer, stated that the company has set at least 3 billion euros aside for expanding within automotive markets through acquisitions.
The word Continental has used to describe its sales growth in the nine months to 30 September 2017 is “strong”. Sales rose 9.0 per cent during the period to 32.7 billion euros, a result Executive Board chairman Dr Elmar Degenhart attributes to putting “money on the right horses with our technologies for safe, efficient and intelligent mobility.”
According to several German media sources, the price of Continental tyres will increase in the second half of this year. Wolfgang Schäfer, chief financial officer at Continental, indicates that tyre prices will go up by between three and five per cent in order to compensate for higher natural rubber costs.
Tyre maker and automotive systems supplier Continental AG has reported sales of €11.0 billion in the first quarter of 2017, a 11.7 per cent increase year-on-year. Organic sales growth came to 9.5 per cent. At the same time, net income attributable to the shareholders of the parent rose by 2.1 per cent to €749.6 million, or €3.75 per share. This overall positive bottom line result was achieved in spite of increased raw material prices; Continental also expects to see rising raw material prices in the second quarter of the year.
Continental AG reports achieving annual sales of €40.55 billion in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 3.6 per cent. Adjusted EBIT amounted to €4.34 billion, 0.6 per cent lower than a year earlier, while the adjusted EBIT margin was also slightly down, at 10.8 per cent. Profit after tax rose 2.6 per cent to €2.80 billion; earnings per share were €14.01.
The CEO of Continental Corporation has described 2014 as “another extremely successful financial year” and confirmed that all targets set for the year were reached. “When evaluating the results, we should not overlook the fact that there was, in some cases, very weak growth in Europe, Russia, and South America,” elaborated Dr. Elmar Degenhart. “There were also significant exchange rate fluctuations. In addition, the mild winter at the end of 2014 had a negative impact on the winter tyre business in Europe. The driving force behind the sales development once again came from China and North America. In light of this, it is remarkable that profit after taxes of just under €2.4 billion or €11.88 per share could be achieved.”
The abrupt end of Elke Strathmann’s career at Continental AG was made public earlier this month, and the company announced today that Strathmann has already relinquished her seat on its Executive Board. Dr. Ariane Reinhart has been named as Continental’s new Executive Board member for human resources and director of labour relations.