China's luxury cars appetite lifts GKN

Strong sales of luxury cars in China have helped the car and plane parts maker GKN to a 15 per cent jump in profits for 2011.

The group, which numbers BMW, Audi and Volkswagen among its biggest customers, hiked its full-year dividend by a fifth to 6p a share, as its sales rose 13 per cent. Pre-tax profits at the maker of driveshafts, chassis and axles came in at £417m.

GKN's chief executive Nigel Stein said: "Demand for premium autos remains strong and we feel that will be the case in 2012. China is the biggest driver of that but North America has come back strongly too. Global car production should rise about 5 per cent this year and we expect to deliver more growth on the back of that."

GKN's car business, which accounts for about two thirds of revenues, saw sales increase 10 per cent to £2.68bn. The group, which also makes airframes for Airbus and Boeing, said its aerospace unit boosted sales by 4 per cent.

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