DAMME, Germany (May 29) — Sales at ZF Boge Elastmetall, the rubber-to-metal bonding unit of ZF, declined 4 percent in 2006 to about $692.8 million.
The firm said in its annual report that the drop was because of exchange rate fluctuations along with the sale of its Sun Manufacturing & Coatings L.L.C. business in Williamstown, Ky. Continued increases in energy and raw material costs also put a strain on results.
The company said it expected sales in 2007 to be higher than 2006, adding, "Price pressure from automotive manufacturers and the necessity to relocate production to best-cost countries in the Asian-Pacific region will continue." ZF said the business unit will expand its presence in growth markets and with the rapidly growing, "primarily Asian," auto makers.
In Europe, the business unit received an order from an unidentified Asian customer to develop and supply powertrain suspension systems for a volume production passenger car platform. A collaboration agreement for strategic cooperation also was concluded with this same customer, said the company. The two companies signed a contract to develop and supply products, such as switchable engine mounts for luxury passenger cars.