Japan Auto Parts Maker Buys U.S. Rival

Auto parts manufacturer Asahi Tec Corp. of Japan said Sept. 1 it will acquire U.S. rival Metaldyne Corp. for $1.2 billion , as Japanese car makers expand their share of the U.S. market. Asahi Tec, controlled by U.S. investment fund Ripplewood Holdings LLC, said it aimed to complete the purchase by November 17.

Michigan-based Metaldyne manufactures parts for engines and other automotive components, generating annual sales of about $1.87 billion (220 billion yen). It is currently owned by a group of private investors led by Heartland Industrial Partners L.P. and CSFB Private Equity.

"This acquisition will increase Asahi Tec's customer base, geographic footprint and product portfolio," the Japanese company's chairman, Shoichiro Irimajiri, said in a statement. "We will be able to bring new products and services to market more rapidly and more efficiently thanks to the increased scale of Metaldyne's operations and a strong and widely recognized management team."

Asahi Tec has a strong presence in Japan, while Metaldyne's footprint stretches across areas including North America, Europe, South Korea, China, India and Brazil. "One of the most dramatic changes is where vehicles will be developed in the future," said Metaldyne chief executive Tim Leuliette. "Suppliers that will be successful and competitive in the future must be ready to rapidly respond to customers as they execute these changes."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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