DETROIT - Aetna Industries Inc. has merged with Sofedit, a $500 million French Tier 1 supplier of subassemblies, body panels and fuel tanks.
The April deal gives the combined companies, which will have annual sales of around $700 million, access to all of the Big 3 and plants in Europe and the United States.
Aetna, a supplier of stamping and weld-assembly work based in Center Line, Mich., did most of its business with Chrysler Corp. and General Motors. Aetna had 1997 sales of $205.7 million. It had no European operations.
Sofedit's main customers are Ford Motor Co., Renault SA, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA and Toyota Motor Corp. Its 10 plants are in Europe.
'It's one of the best fits of anything we've seen,' said Aetna CFO Harold Brown. Aetna has been shopping for more than a year either to acquire a smaller auto supplier or to partner with a larger one.