German supplier Mahle GmbH plans to sell its shares in the joint venture HBPO GmbH to French auto parts supplier Plastic Omnium SA.
Mahle and Plastic Omnium signed an agreement effect March 1, but the transaction is still subject to antitrust approval. If approved, Plastic Omnium will be the majority shareholder.
The joint venture, Hella Behr Plastic Omnium (HBPO), was formed as an equal partnership in 2004 among automotive suppliers Hella GmbH & Co. KgaA, Plastic Omnium and Behr GmbH & Co. KG.
In 2013, Mahle increased its holding in the Behr Group to a 51 percent majority, forming Mahle Behr, the company's thermal management business unit that supplies components for automotive HVAC systems. Through its acquisition of Behr, Mahle holds 33.33 percent of the shares in the HBPO joint venture.
HBPO specializes in the design and assembly of front-end modules, including bumpers, lighting systems and cooling components — an area that is not integral to Mahle's core business, the company said in a March 1 news release.
Mahle said it will continue to focus on key components, such as electric engines and power electronics, as well as the development and production of cooling modules, which are installed in the front-end modules and usually commissioned by an OEM. The news release said Mahle will “retain close links” to HBPO in the assembly of its cooling components in front-end modules.