Hutchinson SA Business report FY2006

Business Highlights

Financial overview

(in million euro) FY2006 FY2005 Rate of change Remarks
Sales 2,932 2,800 +4.7% Despite an unfavorable business environment in both the US and Western Europe, the Automotive business unit charged ahead with growth of 4%, led primarily by South American, Central European and Asian markets.
(The Automotive sector represents 61% of the Group's sales figure.)
Highlights of Automotive-related Activities;
<Fluid Transfer Systems>
Low Pressure: great business with BMW

In 2006, the Company won numerous contracts with the BMW group for Low Pressure Fluid Transfer Systems applications. This comeback, which began with supply of the series 5 and series 7 platforms, accounted for large orders in motor cooling for the X5. Once again in air circuits, other significant markets were obtained at Renault for the replacement of the Megane and at PSA for the 2l HDI motor. And last but not least, orders for the plastic fuel lines at Fiat for its new Bravo.

High Pressure: the first real global orders
In the High Pressure field, the year 2006 particularly stands out with the winning of the air conditioning market for replacement of the Renault Megane. The Company has also been selected for supplying the air conditioning circuit for the new GM Vectra in Mexico in China, Europe and in the US. In the Americas, the major new Low Pressure markets concern GM and Honda, with air conditioning for the Accor and Pilot models. Still in High Pressure but in braking systems, Hutchinson now supplies replacement circuits for the Renault Twingo and Peugeot 307 as well as for the GM Vectra.

Particulate Filters: reinforcement of market position
The Company has consolidated its position as leading supplier for particulate filter function (PFF), and has been able to reinforce its market status in both Europe and in Asia. Substantial orders have been booked with Renault (for Megane replacements) and with Hyundai and Daewoo.

LINKEO(R)and silicone hoses
In 2006, the LINKEO(R) decoupling coil found new prospects in industrial applications, in particular among heavy trucks, buses and agricultural machines. Several large orders were taken over the year, with others forecast following conclusive tests. The silicone hose market also developed broadly in 2006 with the help of demand in heavy trucks and tractors. For Iveco, John Deere, Agco, DaimlerChrysler and Liebherr, these silicone hoses are the best response to dimensional constraints and increased operating temperatures.

<Sealing Systems>
Precision Sealing Systems: reinforced presence in growth zones
2006 was an excellent year for Precision Sealing Systems, a sector in which the Company experienced continued growth. The site in Lodz, Poland - after doubling its sales - has added a new plant for handling new orders. This Eastern European system will soon be completed by the Rumanian unit in Brasov. Construction began there in mid 2006. The Company has also established solid industrial bases in other developing zones of the automobile industry such as Ensenada, Mexico, Monte Alto, Brazil and Suzhou, China.

Mechatronics and TPE: new technical product lines
In the field of oil seals, magnetic elastomer encoder seals once again confirmed the achievements of 2005. These <<intelligent>>parts transmit information such as speed and movement while ensuring optimum functioning of systems such as ABS or ESP. Thermoplastic elastomers also developed vigorously in 2006. While they possess the mechanical characteristics and flexibility of rubber, TPE have the dual advantage of being easier to install while their scrap pieces can be recycled in the manufacturing process.

Body Sealing Systems: Clear success with European manufacturers
In Body Sealing Systems, the Company has considerably increased its market share with Renault and PSA. Sizeable orders were also placed on the German market by the Volkswagen group, thanks to the proximity of the Polish site in Lodz. Meanwhile, the new Rumanian plant in Brasov will amply position Hutchinson for supplying Body Sealing System components designed for the Logan by Renault Dacia.

Sealants: 2 heavy duty contracts
LJF won the supply contract in 2006 for sealant intended for bonding the <3 in 1> cabin of the Renault Magnum truck. This product is vulcanized by heating it in an oil bath or by infrared after only 8 minutes at 80 or 120 degree C. The time thus saved represents a substantial productivity gain on the manufacturer's assembly lines.
Another achievement for LJF was winning the Fiat project that consists of transforming the Fiat Grande Punto into a sedan with an expansible sealant. 90,000 units of this vehicle will be manufactured, starting in 2007, in Brazil, Turkey and China.

<Vibratory, Acoustic and Thermal Insulation>
South America and Asia: Relays for growth
In a difficult environment marked by falling volumes in both Europe and the US, together with price increases for materials and pricing pressures, Paulstra nevertheless managed to maintain its level of sales on the automobile antivibration insulation market in 2006.
In Europe, major projects getting under way concerned the Peugeot 207, the Toyota Auris, the new Ford Mondeo, the Land Rover Freelander, the new Suzuki Wagon R and several Volvo vehicles.
In North America, Paulstra equipped several vehicles with new vibratory and acoustic insulation solutions, including GM vehicles, BMW X5, the Ford Fusion, the Mercury Milan, the Dodge Nitro as well as the Jeep Liberty and Wrangler.
In light of the context in Europe and North America, South American and Asian markets provided significant sources of growth. For example, in Argentina, Paulstra won a supply contract for numerous supplementary parts on the highly successful Toyota Hilux. Business was particularly brisk on the Asian continent, with equipment for the Ford Focus produced in China and delivery of parts for Korean models such as the Daewoo Windstorm and the Ssangyong Rexton.

Creation of Purchasing Units in LCC's (Low Cost Countries)
In order to expand the panel of suppliers while reducing costs, Paulstra made great strides in 2006 in rounding out its Purchasing structure. A facility was created in China, complementing those that already exist in Eastern Europe or in South America. The goal is to find new low cost suppliers in sectors such as punching, cold heading or aluminum parts casting under pressure.

<Transmission and Mobility>
Transmission systems with enhanced performance, greater resistance and ... quieter
The Company has displayed strong growth in 2006 on automotive and heavy truck markets. The new <<anti-noise>>belt in EPDM was a resounding success. Extremely resistant with a life expectancy of over 250,000km on a vehicle, its overwhelming advantage is its silence, even during start-up or in extreme conditions such as low temperature or humidity.


R&D Expenditure

(in million euros) 2006 2005 2004
R&D Expenditure 149 143 134

Product Developments

LINKEO(R) is a revolutionary exhaust line which combines low stiffness and an unprecedented heat insulation. It will also contribute to better environmental performance of the engine and exhaust system, and was well received by the market representatives.

High Temperature Materials
On direct injection motors, temperature and pressure increase dramatically under the hood. In order to fulfill manufacturers' technical specifications, the Company developed new high temperature materials, as well as quick adapted connectors.

Investment Activities

in million euros 2006 2005 2004

Capital Expenditure

137 136 118