(From the Oct. 17, issue of Rubber & Plastics News)
CLERMONT-FERRAND, France—Trelleborg Automotive is divesting its gas spring operation in France to focus on key segments of its core operation.
The Trelleborg A.B. business sold the unit to Defta S.A., which is based in France, for about $9 million. Included in the deal is a gas spring manufacturing facility located in Chemaudin, France, according to a company spokeswoman.
“The divestment is a niche operation with a strong local presence and it is gratifying that a new owner will be taking over and continuing to develop the operation,” according to Jim Law, business area president for Trelleborg Automotive.
He said sale of the operation is in line with Trelleborg's overall strategy and “will enable us to focus further on core operations and on segments that for us have a potential to develop.”
Headquartered in New Haven, Conn., Trelleborg Automotive will continue concentrating on polymers and applications that seal, damp and protect in demanding environments, the spokeswoman said.
Gas springs don't fit into that mix, she said. They are used to lift, open, close and adjust doors, windows and seats. The springs are commonly found in automotive, agricultural and industrial applications.
The transaction is not a signal that Trelleborg Automotive plans to expand any of its existing operations, the spokeswoman cautioned. However, the company does have a history of making moves to match customers' needs or purchasing a firm when it's strategically beneficial.
“Trelleborg is constantly aiming at optimizing its business portfolio in all our business areas,” she said. “The underlying drivers are the need to be located close to customers in growing and profitable segments and to accompany customers in their own globalization.”
Since 2005, Trelleborg has divested, moved or closed more than 30 production operations in North America and Western Europe, according to the spokeswoman. “In parallel, we have established or substantially upgraded 15 units outside those regions.
“Sales have also undergone significant globalization. Western Europe's share of total sales has declined from 66 percent to 52 percent, due primarily to a shift towards Asia. This trend will continue.”
She said it's not unrealistic to aim for a balance between Western Europe and emerging markets of 40 percent each in five years, “with the remaining stable position in North America.”
Trelleborg Automotive is a world leader in the development and manufacture of polymer-based components and systems for noise and vibration-damping solutions for cars, light and heavy trucks, the company said. The business has about 6,500 employees.