HBS ACQUIRES TRUESDELL U.K. UNIT

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Truesdell Enterprises Inc. has sold its Truesdell UK Ltd. subsidiary in Newtown, Wales, to HBS Technologie group of Anteuil, France, for an undisclosed sum.

HBS, Europe's leader in wiring harness insulation products for the automotive industry, also acquired a 10 percent share in family-owned Truesdell Enterprises, based in El Paso, Texas.

Truesdell, which reported sales of $24 million in 1996, extrudes PVC tubing and profiles at plants in El Paso; Auburn Hills, Mich.; and Morgantown, Ky. It employs 190.

The group's Welsh subsidiary was established in 1995 to enable Truesdell to supply to its major client, Lucas SEI Wiring Systems Ltd., an affiliate of Sumitomo Electric Europe SA in London.

With grant aid from the Welsh Development Agency, Truesdell invested $4.4 million in the 20,000-square-foot Newtown facility, situated between Lucas plants in South Wales and northern England.

Truesdell UK, which has sales of 702,000 pounds (US$1.13 million), operates four Davis-Standard extruders and four Corma corrugators producing small-diameter tubing, according to Tom Carey, group president and chief executive officer. The plant has ISO 9002 certification. The subsidiary already has won an export assembly order from Land Rover for Turkey.

HBS Technologie, which is publicly quoted on the Paris Stock Exchange, has sales of about US$39 million and runs plants in France, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Italy.

HBS aims to expand its business in northern Europe and the Truesdell deal offered a strong position in the growing United Kingdom automotive market.

``We already serve part of the British market from France, but [with Truesdell UK] we will be closer to customers,'' Frederic Jacquot, HBS chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview from Anteuil.

Jacquot said HBS already serves leading U.S. automotive system suppliers.

He said some investment will be necessary at the Newtown plant, but he added that HBS does not plan to spend large sums immediately.

Carey said the HBS agreement offers a ``technology transfer between North America and Europe.''

HBS will gain Truesdell's profile technology, and Truesdell will benefit from sound-suppressant technology, and other European know-how in the production of wire harness coverings.