TORONTO - Magna International Inc. is the latest auto parts supplier to expand its global interiors business through acquisition. The Markham, Ontario, company announced March 20 that it bought most of Marley plc's automotive components businesses for about C$100 million (US$73.5 million). The businesses have sales of about C$275 million (US$202.1 million) annually in design, manufacture and assembly of instrument panels, door trim panels and other interior components.
The acquisition boosts Magna's European interior sales to more than C$400 million (US$294 million) per year. Its other European interiors operation is a 90 percent stake of Eybl Durmont AG of Ebergassing, Austria, which it acquired last year. Magna also does about C$1.4 billion (US$1.03 billion) of interiors business in North America.
Magna was attracted by Marley's instrument panel business, a new area that fills out Magna's interior product line, according to Graham Orr, executive vice president of corporate development.
Orr said in a telephone interview that the deal is strategic because it expands Magna's interiors customer base to include Ford, and expands its business with Rover - one of Marley's major customers - Nissan and other original equipment manufacturers in Europe.
Marley of Sevenoaks, England, decided to sell its interiors business because auto makers want a level of global support Marley was not prepared to invest in. Marley decided to focus its resources on its building materials and home improvement operations, the firm's group chief executive David Trapnell said in a telephone interview from Sevenoaks. Marley Auto-motive's next phase of growth will be better with Magna,'' Trapnell said.
Magna gets Marley Automotive Components Ltd. of Kent, Eng-land, which has its main plant in Kent, where it processes plastics and other materials into instrument panels, door panels and wood fiber moldings. Two Marley Automotive facilities in England's Midlands area mainly assemble interior systems and two other plants design and make tools.
Magna also agreed to acquire Marley's 50-percent interest in Marley Kansei Ltd. of Sunderland, England, subject to approval of Kansei Corp. of Japan. The joint venture injection molds large interior parts such as glove boxes and instrument panels. It will be Magna's first joint venture with Kansei, Orr said.
Magna also is negotiating to buy Marley's KKF Karl Fels GmbH operation in Goslar, Germany, which injection molds and decorates small precision interior components such as seat belt guides. Orr said Magna likely will buy Karl Fels but discussions were ongoing as of March 20.
Magna's Eybl subsidiary makes door panels, carpeting and trim parts in Ebergassing and Hart-berg, Austria.
Trapnell said Marley wants to sell its share in the Davidson Marley BV joint venture in Born, Netherlands, which mainly makes instrument panels for Ford. Magna and Marley's joint venture partner Textron Automotive Co. of Troy, Mich., are among companies interested in buying Marley's stake, Trapnell disclosed. The joint venture is Marley's only other auto parts business.
Magna reported sales of C$2.6 billion (US$1.9 billion) for the six months ended Jan. 31. Marley's sales for the year ended Dec. 31 1995 were 713.9 million (US$1.1 billion). Nonautomotive plastic products accounted for about 52 percent of sales. Last year Marley bought plastic furniture maker Syroco Inc. of East Boston, Mass., and the Pacific Dunlop Plastics Group in Australia and New Zealand.