Paris-based Cie. Plastic Omnium is moving further into exterior auto parts, with plans to take a majority interest of composites molder Inoplast and a new technology agreement to partner with Germany's Webasto AG to develop roof modules and other body panels.
Plastic Omnium already has a minority stake in Inoplast, based in St. Desirat, France. In an April 25 news release, the company announced it had signed an agreement to buy Diaz SAS's 50.1 percent share in the company, bringing its total ownership of Inoplast up to 84 percent.
Inoplast produces fiberglass hatchbacks, floors and trunk body panels for the auto industry. It has 2,000 employees and posted 230 million euros ($294 million) in sales in 2005. The firm also has a 60 percent stake in Chinese composites molder Xieno.
At the same time, Plastic Omnium announced it has signed a technology partnership agreement with Webasto of Stockdorf, Germany, to develop complete hatchback and roof modules that would combine Plastic Omnium's structural plastics with Webasto's electronics capabilities.