French automotive supplier Novares Group has acquired all of the outstanding shares in its former joint venture company, Wuhan Mecaplast in Wuhan, China, as part of a strategy to expand its presence in that country.
The company said Jan. 30 that it had purchased the remaining 30 percent stake in the company from JV partner Yazhong via its Chinese subsidiary Noveastern, but did not disclose transaction details.
Novares said it had also relocated the production plant from Wuhan to Shanghai, where it has established a new facility conforming to its global production standards to house both the production operations and the Wuhan technical center.
The new site is located in the Shanghai General Motors (SGM) supplier park, bringing the factory closer to General Motors in China.
Novares, formerly known as Mecaplast, set up the Wuhan Mecaplast joint venture in partnership with Yazhong in 1997 to serve the Chinese market, and specifically to support customers Citroën and Dongfeng in the manufacture of the ZX car.
The unit, which reported sales of 32 million euros ($36.7 million) in 2018, also supplies other automotive customers in the region, including Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën (DPCA), Ford, Honda, Renault-Nissan and Dongfeng.
Employing a workforce of more than 300, it produces interior plastic components and trunk trims, exterior pillars and cowl tops along with engine parts.
“Novares is an experienced, long-term player in the Chinese market and we are planning to expand our operations in the country,” CEO Pierre Boulet said.
According to Boulet, the full ownership of the Wuhan operation and the relocation and upgrade of facilities are an “important step in that journey.”