Tlaib holds out for better deal on social spending, infrastructure bills

Auto supplier Faurecia sells exterior biz for $753M

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

It’s unclear how nearly 100 Metro Detroit employees of auto supplier Faurecia will be affected by the sale of its Automotive Exteriors business to Plastic Omnium.

The two French companies on Tuesday announced the signing of a definitive sales and purchase agreement of Faurecia’s auto exterior systems business for 665 million euros (about $753 million).

The deal, which is expected to close the second half of the year, involves the company’s bumpers and front-end modules business, which had sales of 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in 2015 and employs 7,700 people at 22 sites.

Faurecia spokesman Tony Sapienza said automotive exterior operations for the combination of 95 salaried and production employees between the company’s North American headquarters in Auburn Hills and a production facility in Sterling Heights will be affected by the sale. Another 40 workers in Belvidere, Illinois will be affected by the sale, bringing the number of North American employees involved to 135.

Sapienza said the production facility is shared with the company’s seating group and will continue to operate. He said the exteriors business will eventually move out.

Sapienza referred questions to Plastic Omnium on whether employees are expected to keep their jobs. Plastic Omnium did not immediately respond.

Faurecia on Tuesday said the sale, combined with actions involving early redemption of a convertible bond in January, will almost completely eliminate its debt.

“The group will thus be able to accelerate investment in value-added technologies for sustainable mobility and enhanced life on board,” the company said in a statement. “The composite business of Faurecia is an integral part of its technology strategy for lightweight solutions and is thus not included in the deal with Plastic Omnium.”

Faurecia has about 18,000 hourly and salaried employees at 48 sites in North America, including 5,000 hourly and salary employees at 11 sites in Michigan. Globally, it employs more than 100,000.

Plastic Omnium operates 15 plants and two research and development centers in North America, according to the company’s website.

Plastic Omnium most recently made headlines in Michigan by exhibiting at January’s Detroit auto show. Around that time, the company said North America will be the largest contributor to Plastic Omnium’s total growth through 2019. It plans to increase revenue by 50 percent to $2.8 billion.

The growth, the company said, is driven by an investment plan of $650 million to increase its industrial footprint, diversifying its portfolio of customers and developing innovative products and solutions. The aggressive investment plan is likely good news for current Faurecia workers.

Plastic Omnium currently operates 15 plants and two research and development centers in North America, according to the company’s website.

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