Industrial firm Textron Inc. is exploring options for its Kautex blow molding unit, including a possible sale.
In an Aug. 5 news release, officials with Providence, R.I.-based Textron said that the firm "is reviewing strategic alternatives" for Kautex Textron GmbH & Co. KG, including a sale, tax-free spinoff or other transaction.
Kautex is based in Bonn, Germany, and has more than 30 plants in 14 countries. It generated sales of more than $2.3 billion in 2018.
The company is the No. 8 largest blow molder in North America, according to Plastics News, with estimated sales in the region of $855 million. Among companies that specialize in blow molded fuel tanks, Kautex is No. 3, behind Plastic Omnium Auto Inergy Division and ABC Group Inc.
Kautex has five plants in North America: Avilla, Ind.; Detroit; Lavonia, Ga.; Puebla, Mexico; and Windsor, Ontario.
Kautex makes blow molded fuel tanks and advanced fuel systems for cars and light trucks, including pressurized fuel tanks for hybrid applications. The unit also develops and makes camera/sensor cleaning solutions for autos and catalytic reduction systems used to reduce emissions from diesel engines.
Kautex also makes cast iron engine camshafts, crankshafts and other engine components.
In the release, Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly described Kautex as "a leading Tier 1 supplier to global OEMs [that] has a long history of product innovation, world-class operations and strong financial performance."
He added that Textron is "exploring strategic alternatives to see how we can position Kautex to best serve its customers for ongoing success while simultaneously unlocking potential value for our shareholders."
Textron officials also said that no decision regarding Kautex has been made. They added that "there can be no assurance that the process will result in any transaction being announced or completed in the future."
Textron has not set a definitive timetable for completion of its review of strategic alternatives, officials said, and "does not intend to make any further announcements related to its review" unless and until its board of directors has approved a specific transaction or if the firm "determines that further disclosure is appropriate."
In addition to Kautex, global industrial brands owned by Textron include Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Lycoming and Arctic Cat. The firm employs 35,000 worldwide and had 2018 sales of just under $14 billion.
Kautex was founded in 1935 and developed the first blow molding machine in Europe in 1949. Textron bought the blow molding business in 1996.
The plastics machinery business, Kautex Maschinenbau GmbH, split from the blow molding business in 1977, and is not owned by Textron.