Chinese automotive suppliers are likely to buy North American parts companies as the industry faces 12-18 more months of depressed volumes and tight credit, said Dietmar Ostermann, a director with management consultancy PRTM (Pittiglio Rabin Todd & McGrath) in Addison, Texas.
Chinese suppliers such as Guangzhou Automobile Group Component Co. and Fawer, the parts-making affiliate of China FAW Group Corp. in Changchun, will see opportunities to buy North American and European companies, Ostermann said. China's government is urging large suppliers to buy smaller rivals at home and to expand abroad, he said.
Guangzhou Automobile is a major player in interiors, a segment in North America that is ripe for consolidation, Ostermann said. Already this year, BeijingWest Industries Co. Ltd. bought assets of Delphi Corp.'s brake and suspension businesses for about $100 million. The sale occurred before Delphi left Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.
PRTM recently studied 357 suppliers worldwide to predict which will be buyers and which will be bought, based on financial resources, past actions and other factors.
Of the 10 suppliers seen as best-positioned to be buyers, two are Chinese, four are European, two are Japanese and one is Indian. Only one is American: PPG Industries Inc. German and North American suppliers are expected to be especially active buyers in the powertrain parts segment, the study found.
On the other hand, U.S. companies are well-represented among the global companies likely to be sold or to divest major pieces, he added. Sectors facing the greatest likelihood of mergers, acquisitions or bankruptcies are chassis and electronics parts makers.
Ostermann said parts makers can be purchased for the lowest prices in years. He said prices are likely to remain low for many months as U.S. vehicle sales rebound slowly.
He predicts annual U.S. new-vehicle sales will struggle to reach 13 million units within three years, while some analysts believe sales will reach 15 million units a year by then.
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