PARIS (May 26) — French rubber products maker Hutchinson S.A. reported 5-percent higher sales in fiscal 2005, with business in North America leading the growth.
Hutchinson, the world´s largest non-tire rubber goods producer, reported $3.48 billion in sales last year, with business in the aerospace and industry sector growing 18.4 percent to lead the way. Hutchinson's automotive sector, its largest at 62 percent of sales, reported a rather modest 3-percent growth, while the consumer products sector actually shrank by 1.5 percent "primarily due to lifeless European consumption."
Sales in North America grew 14.4 percent during the year — aided by the currency exchange rates — to $904.3 million; the region now represents 26 percent of Hutchinson´s global sales.
Capital investments grew 15.2 percent over fiscal 2004 to $168.9 million, and spending on research and development was up 6.7 percent to $177.6 million. Among the capital spending projects during the year was a high-pressure hose plant in Reynosa, Mexico.
Also during the year Hutchinson closed its Stillman Seals plant in Carlsbad, Calif., and moved production to Ensenada, Mexico; moved production of anti-vibration parts to Barry Controls plants in Ithaca, N.Y., and Hopkinton, Mass., from Brighton, Mass.; and moved production of automotive anti-vibration parts out of Ithaca to plants in Grand Rapids and Cadillac, Mich., and Monte Alto, Brazil.
Hutchinson, a subsidiary of the French oil concern Total S.A., does not report earnings.