Hella will expand its joint ventures

Lippstadt, Germany. Hella plans to further expand some of its joint ventures.

The supplier hopes to expand its Frontend joint venture with Hella-Behr Fahrzeugsysteme in Lippstadt or its Intedis electronics joint venture with Leoni.

"We can not yet disclose any names, but we are negotiating with our partners," Hella managing director Werner Lenke told Automobilwoche.

He said that intensive negotiations are being held with possible new partners.

Hella, an electronics and lighting specialist based in Lippstadt, would like to involve Intedis, a manufacturer of flat conductor cables. Lenke's plan is to integrate the electronics into flat conductors.

He said that such high-quality electronic components could only be manufactured close to the automobile plants. Otherwise the risk of damage during transport would be too high.

Hella had a slight increase in sales of 2.3 percent from 2.94 billion euros in the previous year to 3.01 billion euros in the business year 2002-03 that ended May 31.

Lenke said he expects consolidation and a slight growth in the European market due to ambitious electronic engineering.

Still, he said he believes that the real potential for the company's growth lies in China: "If the forecasts are only partially true then China is our strongest growing market."

In the last business year Hella had increased sales in the Asian/Pacific regions by 21.8 percent to 145 million euros.