ZF needs TRW's tech know-how, CFO says

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BERLIN (Reuters) -- German car parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen believes buying U.S peer TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. would give it a better foothold in the market for self-driving and connected cars, its finance chief told a German paper.

Privately-held ZF Friedrichshafen is in early talks with TRW, which makes airbags, electronics, and braking and steering equipment.

CFO Konstantin Sauer said ZF Friedrichshafen was well placed in the areas of powertrains and chassis, but that other areas were growing in importance, highlighting internet-enabled devices and autonomous driving.

"TRW, with its years of market expertise, technology and products would be the perfect complement," Sauer said in an interview with Boersen-Zeitung on Saturday.

ZF rival German car parts supplier Robert Bosch is also investing heavily in such new technologies.

TRW has a market capitalization of around $11 billion, so the deal would be a major acquisition for ZF Friedrichshafen, which had revenue of 16.84 billion euros ($22.8 billion) in 2013.

Bloomberg, citing people close to the situation, reported this week that lenders are prepared to support a ZF bid for TRW as high as $13 billion.

Sauer declined to give details of financing for any deal in the interview saying only: "You can assume that we have thought long and hard about this to find a way that matches our company values."

He declined to comment on a timeframe for the talks.

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