D’Ieteren Group, which owns 50.01% of Belron, the owner of Safelite AutoGlass and Safelite Solutions in the United States, continued its plan this week to buy back shares for nine to 12 months.
The Group’s board of directors decided in March of this year to resume what it calls the Programme. D’Ieteren defines the Programme as a solidarity-based share buyback program. D’Ieteren is giving 5% to the Kepler Cheuvreux Foundation, which raises funds for hospitals, medical research and individuals economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the end of the day, since they made that announcement, I think their share price has gone up 300%,” says an industry financial expert who spoke with glassBYTEs.com on condition of anonymity. The expert is of the opinion that Belron must anticipate stocks going up. Individuals, however, usually buy back stock when they do not expect their stock to do any better. Belron can improve its stock performance by repurchasing its shares. “[Otherwise,] I have no idea why they’re restarting [buyback],” the expert says.
D’Ieteren Automotive has the goal to increase sales by 10% in 2025. “This should be driven by better volumes, continued price/mix increase and acceleration in other mobility services,” according to a company statement.
“Our activities have built and shown strong resilience in the turbulent recent years and are expected to continue to over-deliver in the coming years, setting ambitious financial and non-financial objectives for 2025,” CEO Francis Deprez says in the statement.
For Belron, 2025 goals include top-line growth and margin improvement driven by market share gains, auto glass repair and replacement value growth, and contributions from increased Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) recalibration fees. The company statement says that Belron’s sales are expected to grow by a high single-digit percentage average.
The same industry expert says the Group’s three-year plan is interesting. Belron’s performance is strong. “Their business is so far superior to anybody else’s that they should be able to do better in the marketplace,” the expert says. Belron is “virtually the most productive in the [automotive glass and repair] business.”
Belron has the resources to invest in ADAS, take high-revenue jobs, and give low-revenue jobs to contractors. “They have ambitious plans, but, at the end of the day, nobody can really compete with them,” according to the expert. “It’s good to be Belron.”
The Group also announced its commitment to the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) and a goal of having 100% of its current portfolio covered by a validated SBT by the end of 2025.