Japanese car-wiring maker Fujikura has bought a controlling stake in Spain's Ace Automotive as part of a plan to expand its business in Europe, an Ace official confirmed to just-auto.

But the official would not confirm reports that Fujikura has purchased 60% of Ace for an undisclosed sum. She said the company will announce more details of the transaction at a 3 October press conference.

The acquisition is expected to boost Fujikura's European presence after the company opened a research and development centre in Colone, Germany in January, Spanish daily Cinco Dias said.

The deal should also help the Japanese company achieve its reported revenue target of nearly EUR7bn in 2010, double the EUR3.4bn delivered in 2005, the newspaper added.

For Ace, Fujikura's investment will help it expand in the Asian market, particularly China, where the company is reported to be building a components factory in Changchun.

With reported revenues of EUR122m last year, Ace makes automobile cabling and wiring components. Its biggest customers include Renault, Mercedes and Audi. The company employs 3,400 workers in three plants in Spain and factories in Romania and Mexico.

Separately, Spanish components maker Eaton said it will close its Montornes del Valles valve factory in Barcelona to shift production to an undisclosed site in Poland, according to Spanish press. The move will see 151 workers lose their jobs.

Eaton, which could not be reached for comment, is expected to keep its 300-strong transmission-parts factory in Alcala de Henares outside Madrid.

Ivan Castano