US: Lear completes transfer of European interiors business

By just-auto.com editorial team | 17 October 2006

Automotive interior systems supplier Lear Corporation has completed the contribution of substantially all of its European interiors systems division (ISD Europe) to International Automotive Components Group, Lear's joint venture with WL Ross & Co and Franklin Mutual Advisers, in exchange for one-third of the current outstanding common equity of IAC.

Lear will record a loss on sale of approximately $US29m for this transaction in its third-quarter financial results.

ISD Europe includes substantially all of Lear's interior components business in Europe, consisting of nine manufacturing facilities as well as management and operational support functions related to the production of instrument panels and cockpit systems, headliners and overhead systems, door panels and interior trim for various original equipment manufacturers, generating about $750m in annual sales.

The ISD Europe transaction does not include Lear's interior components business in North America.

"Looking at this business longer term, we believe there is a great opportunity for profitable growth, but for that to occur this segment requires further consolidation," said Lear chairman and chief executive officer Bob Rossiter. "We are extremely pleased to have completed a transaction for our European 8nteriors business and are continuing to seek a similar solution for our interiors business in North America."

Wilbur Ross, chairman of International Automotive Components Group, said the completion of the acquisition on a debt-free basis in exchange for 34% of the stock in IAC will expand IAC's presence in Europe to 20 facilities in 9 countries with approximately $1.2bn in annual revenues.

Ross said: "We are excited to add the Lear European interiors assets to our global IAC operations.  We now are present through out Europe, Brazil and Japan with global revenues totalling approximately $1.6 billion."