ElringKlinger shares increased in value by 74 percent during the year that ended May 31. That made it the most rewarding investment of the 28 European auto suppliers tracked by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Growing demand for diesel-powered vehicles helped boost the companys sales by 7 percent in 2002, to E393 million. It has an 80 percent share of the European market for diesel seals. Diesels now account for about half of new cars sold in Europe.
ElringKlinger is also a major supplier of engine gaskets, heat shields and plastic cover modules.
The Dettingen, Germany-based supplier has also been extending its share of the North American market in cylinder-head gaskets to around 25 percent. Meanwhile, ElringKlinger has raised its stakes in existing ventures in China, where it is already reporting an operating profit.
In Europe, ElringKlinger is weathering the car market downturn with help from new products in shielding components and plastic cover-cams. It has recently acquired a worldwide license for advanced cylinder-head-gasket technology, which is expected to provide the company with a strong competitive advantage.
Beru, based in Stuttgart, Germany, is another beneficiary of the diesel boom in Europe. It returned 59 percent over three years, compared with a fall of 28.4 percent for auto suppliers as a whole. That made it the top performer on a three-year period.
Beru makes diesel cold-start and ignition technology, as well as electronics and sensors components. The company has maintained good profitability. Its earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortization amounted to 17.5 percent of sales in the year ending March 31. Demand for Berus tire pressure monitoring system is growing fast.