Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor who owns U.S. interiors supplier International Automotive Components Group LLC, expects to expand his collection of supplier assets before the end of the year.
There will be further consolidation and IAC will continue to be a consolidator, Ross said at a Sept. 17 industry event in Frankfurt.
In July, Dearborn, Mich.-based IAC completed the purchase of key pieces of insolvent German supplier Stankiewicz GmbH. The move expanded IAC's global automotive carpets and acoustic parts business.
IAC bought Stankiewicz's nine plants in Germany, Belgium, Poland and the Czech Republic for an unnamed amount. The plants generate more than 150 million euros ($221 million) in annual sales, IAC said in a statement.
The Stankiewicz plants were absorbed into IAC's European business unit, which comprises facilities once owned by suppliers Lear Corp., Visteon Corp. and Collins & Aikman Corp.
Separately, Ross said supplier consolidation makes so much sense now because the number of automakers is declining. He believes a more consolidated supplier has the scale to offer supplier-financed research and development, which makes them better partners for automakers.
It would be better to depend on a few well-capitalized global suppliers, Ross said.
He added that the beat-your-supplier-to-death approach of some [original equipment manufacturers] has often been counter-productive.
When an important supplier becomes insolvent, its OE customers invariably provide massive aid with little hope for real vitality of the target supplier, Ross said.
IAC ranks as North America's largest injection molder, with $1.34 billion in relevant sales, according to Plastics News' most recent survey. The company also is No. 39 on Automotive News' list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide parts sales to automakers of $4.6 billion in 2008.
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