Visteon strikes deal to shed the last of its auto interiors business

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Visteon Corp. said it signed an agreement to sell its global automotive interiors business to an affiliate of private investment firm Cerberus Capital Management LP.

Under the terms of the deal, Cerberus assumes the approximately $20 million in pension liabilities of the business unit, and Visteon will invest $95 million into the business under Cerberus. Visteon has also agreed to provide $90 million in revolving credit to bridge the deal, which will be paid back by Cerberus, the Van Buren Township supplier said in a news release.

Visteon will remain in control of certain real estate assets of the unit in South America and Europe, worth about $35 million, it said.

The unit, which supplies automotive cockpit modules, instrument panels, door panels and floor panels, had revenues of approximately $1 billion in 2013. The operations include 15 plants and six engineering centers in Asia, Europe and South America.  

“The transaction supports our previously announced intention to divest our interiors business and focus on our core thermal management and cockpit electronic ecosystems businesses, which enjoy market-leading positions in segments that are growing faster than the industry overall,” Timothy Leuliette, Visteon president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are pleased to be selling this interiors business to a well-capitalized, operationally focused investment firm with a track record for long-term value creation, where we think it will be an excellent fit.” 

Visteon also announced it completed its previously announced deal to sell its 50 percent stake in joint venture Duckyang Industry Co. Ltd. to Duckyang shareholders for $24.1 million, plus roughly $6 million in dividends. ​That JV operated interiors plants in South Korea.

The company has been selling off its interiors operations for more than a year, focusing instead on electronics and heating and air conditioning systems.