Private equity firm Castle Harlan Inc. is in late-stage talks to buy Advanced Accessory Systems, one of the largest makers of automotive tow and rack systems, the companies said on Friday, according to Reuters.

Terms of the proposed transaction weren't disclosed, Reuters said, adding that Castle Harlan said it intended to pay off Advanced Accessory's 9-3/4% senior subordinated notes due 2007 at the current optional redemption price of 104 7/8 of principal amount.

Castle Harlan, which has raised $US275 million for buyouts since 1992, said the acquisition is contingent on obtaining sufficient debt financing, Reuters said.

Unlisted Advanced Automotive, based in Sterling Heights, Michigan, had $156 million in long term debt as of June 30, 2002, Reuters said, citing Standard & Poor's.