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GERMANY: BMW purchases 15% stake in SGL Carbon

By Simon Warburton | 21 November 2011

BMW has secured a 15.16% stake in SGL Carbon to strengthen its focus on lightweight construction and the use of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) in automobile manufacture.

"Lightweight construction will play an increasingly important role in the automobile industry in the future," said BMW finance board member Friedrich Eichiner. "Our stake-holding in the SGL Group is a logical step that will further strengthen our successful cooperation."

The company is not disclosing financial details of the transaction and BMW will not seek a seat on the supervisory board of SGL Carbon.

The BMW Group and the SGL Group already operate a joint venture with SGL holding 51% and the BMW Group 49 % of shares in the joint company, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers. The two partners have built a new carbon fibre manufacturing plant in Moses Lake in Washington State in the US.

The new plant plays an important part in the two companies' strategy to automate the production of ultra-light CFRPs for use in future vehicle concepts. 

The carbon fibres produced in Moses Lake are being processed at facilities in Wackersdorf and Landshut. Wackersdorf delivers textile fabrics made from carbon fibres, which are then being processed at the BMW plant in Landshut to make lightweight CFRP body components for the BMW i3 and BMW i8.

Both vehicles will be assembled at the BMW plant in Leipzig. The BMW i3, the BMW Group's first series-produced electric vehicle, will be released on the market in 2013, followed by the BMW i8 sports car shortly afterwards.