Josef Edbauer, current Head of GF Casting Solutions, has decided to retire at the end of December 2018. The GF Board of Directors nominated Carlos Vasto as new Head of GF Casting Solutions effective 1 September 2018.
Josef Edbauer (60) can look back on a very successful career at GF spanning more than 40 years. After several management positions at the GF iron casting foundry in Singen (Germany), he was promoted in 2008 as Head of the division GF Casting Solutions (formerly GF Automotive) and member of the GF Executive Committee. Under his leadership, the division constantly adapted its geographical footprint as well as its portfolio with the expansion in the Chinese market, in the US and in Eastern Europe, the stronger focus on lightweight casting components and the entry into the promising investment casting business in 2018.
The new manager: Carlos Vasto
Carlos Vasto (54), dual citizen of Brazil and Italy, holds a metallurgical engineering degree from the Mackenzie University in São Paulo (Brazil). He has an extensive professional experience in the automotive and in the mechanical engineering sector and is well acquainted with GF. From 1987 to 2005, he held various positions at GF Casting Solutions in Germany and England including as Managing Director of the Great Britain plant. From 2005 to 2010 he led as Executive Vice President an investment casting company in Brazil and worked afterwards as Managing Director and Partner in a start-up company. Since 2015 he led as General Manager the set-up of the new light metal die-casting plant in Mills River (USA), operated by GF and its Canadian joint venture partner Linamar. At the beginning of 2018, Carlos Vasto returned to Switzerland to take over the position as Head of the divisions’ Business Unit “Iron and Investment Casting Europe”.
Carlos Vasto will join the Executive Committee as of 1 September 2018, Josef Edbauer will remain available until the year-end to support his successor.
GF Casting Solutions with growth rates above target
GF Casting Solutions saw its sales grow by almost 28% to CHF 924 million, supported by a stronger Euro and the consolidation effect of the acquisitions successfully executed in 2017 and early 2018. Organic growth stood at a high 11% despite slowing growth rates in the car sector worldwide. Taking into account raw material-related price increases, the actual volume increase amounted to 9% as new light metal orders for SUVs and electric cars did come on stream and truck-related demand was quite sustained.
The division increased its operating result by 13% from CHF 53 million to CHF 60 million, but its operating margin slightly retracted from 7.3% to 6.5% as raw material price increases actually reduced profitability and the costs relating to the ramp-up of the new light metal plant in the US went up in preparation for the production start at mid-year. The light metal foundry recently purchased in Romania had a good start of the year and so had the newly acquired Precicast in Switzerland. Both companies were accretive to earnings.
All divisions of GF Automotive are on track for growth
GF Piping Systems maintained its strong momentum. Sales grew by another 15% to CHF 947 million. Organic growth stood at 11%, reflecting a strong underlying trend in all sectors and especially for its industrial applications worldwide. The division improved its operating result by 19% from CHF 97 million to CHF 115 million, resulting in an operating margin of 12.1% compared to 11.7% in the first semester of 2017. Most plants were well loaded, the focus on high-value products, solutions and businesses bore fruits and the recent acquisitions were accretive to earnings. GF Urecon (Canada), acquired in July 2017, has been integrated very well, already developing the customized American version of the pre-insulated Cool-Fit system for the transport of cooling media.
Also GF Machining Solutions recorded a successful semester with an order intake increase of 8% on the back of strong orders received in Asia, but also in Europe. Sales grew 18% to CHF 525 million, with an organic growth of 14%. The division lifted up its operating result by 50%, from CHF 28 million to CHF 42 million, for an operating margin of 8%, against 6.3% in the first half of 2017. The new products launched in 2017 did contribute the most to these operational improvements. The connectivity software company Symmedia GmbH (Germany), acquired in September 2017, has been successfully integrated and contributes to the acceleration of our digitalization drive.
This article fist appeared on spotlightmetal.com.