Sommer-Allibert may sell out to French supplier rivals Faurecia or Valeo.

Shares in the cockpit and door modules specialist soared last week on buyout speculation.

Canada's Magna International and Lear and Delphi of the USA are also considered possible bidders.

Sommer-Allibert denies it's for sale, but industry analysts believe a deal is close.

Speculation intensified last week when US investment fund Wyser-Pratte & Co. lifted its stake in Sommer-Allibert to more than 5 percent. This move makes a deal more likely.

A French newspaper reported that Sommer-Allibert's supervisory board has endorsed the sale.

If the deal does happen we are likely to see Valeo and Faurecia merge next year, which would consolidate all their vehicle interior business.

Sommer-Allibert's SAI Automotive AG unit reported 1999 sales of E2.1 billion worldwide. SAI's main businesses are cockpit modules, door modules, carpets and acoustic modules, and bumpers.