Auto supplier Hella, now part of the Forvia Group brand, sold its 33.3 percent stake in HBPO GmbH for 290 million euros ($295 million) to Plastic Omnium SE, which now has full ownership of the former joint venture.
"The acquisition of the remaining 33.3 percent of HBPO will allow Plastic Omnium to implement its growth strategy by broadening the range of modules offered," Plastic Omnium CEO Laurent Favre said in a July 28 news release. "Plastic Omnium will be able to meet demand for more and more complex modular innovations accompanying the shift towards electric vehicles.
"The group's business lines will allow Plastic Omnium to offer smart and fully integrated solutions to the automotive market as it transitions toward more sustainable and connected mobility," Favre added.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
"Plastic Omnium's acquisition of the remaining shares in HBPO supports its strategy to increase the value-added content per vehicle, while leveraging the growing demand for electric vehicles," the release said. "The acquisition of the remaining shares will unlock development opportunities and further reinforce Plastic Omnium's proximity with premium and German OEMs.
Plastic Omnium, Hella and Behr founded Lippstadt, Germany-based HBPO in 2004 as a joint venture. Plastic Omnium has held the majority of shares in HBPO since 2018, when it increased its stake to 66.6 percent of the share capital from the 33.3 percent it initially held, the release said.
The company specializes in assembling just-in-time front-end modules using products from each of the partner companies. Behr Industry GmbH was acquired by Mahle Group in 2010 and Plastic Omnium bought Mahle's share in 2018. When French auto supplier Faurecia acquired Hella in a deal completed earlier this year, it created the Forvia holding company.
HBPO headquarters will remain in Lippstadt, it said.
"Together with our partners, we have successfully positioned HBPO as one of the leading suppliers of highly integrated front-end modules," Michel Favre, CEO of Hella, said in a news release. "In order to further sharpen our profile as a focused technology company … we have now decided to exit the joint venture. By purchasing our shares in the joint venture, Plastic Omnium will get the opportunity to further increase the focus of HBPO's development, offering stakeholders a strong outlook."
In 2021, HBPO generated 2.2 billion euros ($2.25 billion) in revenue. The company has 2,800 employees at more than 30 locations in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Hella's divestment of its stake in HBPO "marks a first significant step in Forvia's total divestment program of €1 billion by 2023 … to reduce its consolidated net debt following the acquisition of Hella," Faurecia said in a July 28 release. "This divestment represents close to 30 percent of the total target for the plan."