BTR plc, the giant British industrial conglomerate, has acquired OSA SA, a leading Brazilian plastic auto components supplier, for $90 million. BTR expects to take advantage of Brazil's rapidly expanding automotive industry, which continues to swell as foreign vehicle manufacturers announce plans to locate plants in the country.
London-based BTR, which already runs Getoflex Metzeler, a Brazilian rubber products firm it bought from Italy's Pirelli Group in 1992, plans other acquisitions in the country. They will be mainly in automotive components, said BTR Chief Executive Officer Alan Jackson.
OSA - which stands for OrganizacÃo Sistemas e AdministracOes - reported sales of $147 million last year and 1995 half-year sales of $87 million. The firm manufactures parts including plastic bumpers, instrument and door panels, armrests and steering wheels.
From plants in Minas Gerais state, north of SÃo Paulo, the firm supplies major auto customers including General Motors, Fiat and Volkswagen. It has three subsidiary firms: Plascar SA, Plavigor SA and Oscar Nordeste Industria e Comercio Ltda. Plavigor was acquired in June 1994.
OSA is investing in a new plastic panel production and assembly plant at Betim, Brazil, where one plant already is situated to supply Fiat's main Brazilian car assembly plant there, according to BTR.
In June, OSA issued new shares to raise 27 million reis (about $26 million), with around $21 million destined to fund the new line at Betim.
BTR has gained a controlling interest of 94 percent of OSA's voting stock, which represents about 53 percent of the issued company capital, the British firm announced Sept. 18. The acquisition was made through Permali do Brasil Ind£stria e Comercio Ltda., a nontrading representative BTR subsidiary in Brazil.
The deal will double BTR's sales in Brazil, Jackson said. He told the London newspaper Financial Times that his firm feels now is the time to expand in Brazil because of an improvement in the economy and in view of the country's automotive industry growth prospects.
Current Brazilian vehicle production of 900,000 units a year is due to rise to 1.5 million in the next two years, making the nation the world's seventh-biggest producer.
German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz AG announced in mid-September it selected Brazil for a new $405 million car plant. Earlier, Volkswagen opted to build a truck plant in Rio de Janeiro state. Fiat is favoring the same state for a heavy-vehicle plant, while Renault has chosen Brazil for a car plant and Honda is strongly favoring the country for a new vehicle plant.
BTR, which reported 1994 pretax profits of $2.4 billion on sales of about $14 billion, took over the Wayne, N.J., high-pressure laminates group Formica Corp. in January for $617.5 million through BTR's Australian subsidiary, BTR Nylex Ltd.
BTR also owns North America's sixth-biggest blow molder, Continental PET Technologies Inc. of Florence, Ky.