Co Galway driverless car tech firm back in black

By Gordon Deegan

The Tuam firm at the cutting edge of driverless car technology returned to profit in 2016 to record pre-tax profits of €6.6m.

According to accounts just filed by Connaught Electronic Ltd trading as Valeo Vision Systems Ltd, the company returned to the black after its pre-tax loss of €26.5m in 2015.

The company recorded the return to profit in spite of revenues dipping slightly to €297.8m. Valeo purchased Connacht Electronic in 2007 and the business has expanded at a tremendous rate under the French owners as the Galway company was targeting revenues of €37m in the year of sale.

Workers at the French-owned firm are engaged in testing the latest technologies for intuitive driving. Job numbers at the Co Galway-based Valeo Vision Systems have been increasing at a rapid rate as it ramps up its research and development spend. The company increased staff count from 942 to 1,081 in 2016 and the directors say it plans to further expand its facility to facilitate the extra people. The firm’s spend on research and development in 2016 increased by 44% to €39m.

The directors said that subsequent to year-end it continued its recruitment drive. The Tuam plant is of 58 Valeo research and development centres located across the globe.

It focuses on designing and making and the sale of components, integrated systems and modules for the car industry. In 2016, the group employs 91,800 in 32 countries. It spent €1.16bn on research and development.

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