By Douglas Bolduc, Automotive News
Frankfurt, Germany -- Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor who owns US interiors supplier International Automotive Components Group llc, expects to expand his collection of supplier assets before the end of the year.
"There will be further consolidation and IAC will continue to be a consolidator," Ross said at a 17 Sept industry event in Frankfurt.
He declined to hint at which areas IAC is targeting.
In July, Dearborn, Michigan-based IAC completed the purchased of key pieces of insolvent German supplier Stankiewicz GmbH. The move expanded IAC's global automotive carpets and acoustic parts business.IAC bought Stankiewicz's nine plants in Germany, Belgium, Poland and the Czech Republic for an undisclosed amount. The plants generate more than Euro 150 million ($221 million) in annual sales, IAC said in a statement.
The Stankiewicz plants were absorbed into IAC's European business unit, which is made up of plants and other facilities once owned by suppliers Lear Corp., Visteon Corp. and Collins & Aikman Corp.
Separately, Ross said that supplier consolidation makes so much sense now because the number of automakers is declining. He believes that a more-consolidated supplier has the scale to offer supplier-financed research and development, which makes them better partners for automakers.
"It would be better to depend on a few well-capitalised global suppliers," Ross said.
He added that the "beat-your-supplier-to-death approach of some [original equipment manufacturers] has often been counter-productive."
"When an important supplier becomes insolvent, its …OE customers invariably provide massive aid with little hope for real vitality of the target supplier," he said.
IAC ranks as North America's largest injection moulders, with $1340 million in relevant sales, according to Plastics News' most recent survey. The company also is No. 39 on Automotive News' list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide parts sales to automakers of $4600 million in 2008.