Collins & Aikman Corp. is continuing to tweak its European operations, buying the final 50 percent of four Italian injection molding plants from Textron Inc.
The companies had agreed to run the plants in Cassino, Anagni, Ferentino, and San Benigno as a temporary joint venture when C&A purchased Textron's automotive trim unit in late 2001. Textron had a $28 million option to sell its half of the venture in December 2004.
Collins & Aikman paid $15 million in the deal, completed Jan. 17.
``Having complete control over our Italian operations will allow us to further implement our European strategy, capitalize on our business model and provide a broader base to service our global customers,'' C&A President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Mosingo said in a news release.
Executives would not comment on whether C&A paid less for the plants because of weakening business at the plants' main customer, Fiat Auto SpA. Fiat's production dropped nearly 17 percent last year, to 1.17 million vehicles in 2002 from 1.4 million in 2001.
Troy, Mich.-based C&A, meanwhile, has been rapidly revamping its European operations in a move to recover from a third-quarter loss of $45.2 million. Part of the overhaul includes bringing its European operations up to the same standards as those in North America, Mosingo has said.
The company has closed plants in Sweden, Belgium and England. With full control of the Italian plants, the firm can implement its own operating system there. In a November conference call, Mosingo noted that Europe is one of C&A's biggest problems.
``We now have complete control,'' said C&A spokesman David Youngman. ``We can take full advantage of all of the operations in Europe and run them all the same way.''
The buyout of Providence, R.I.-based Textron's 50 percent holding comes less than a month after Collins & Aikman bought out a Delphi Corp. injection molding operation in Spain, a move executives said brought the company more presence in a growing European auto-production region.