Simpson plans to trim work force
Simpson Industries Inc. will cut its worldwide salaried work force by about 10 percent, largely through retirements and by eliminating about 50 positions. The company plans an estimated pre-tax fourth-quarter charge of $2.5 million, mainly to cover the costs of severance-related payments.
Simpson, of Plymouth, Mich., makes powertrain and chassis products. It made the move to improve its global cost structure and to support product development.
TRIM - Textron Automotive Co.'s trim division will build an 87,000- square-foot center adjacent to the North American headquarters of DaimlerChrysler AG in Auburn Hills, Mich. The DaimlerChrysler Integration and Advanced Technology Center will house all of Textron's interior and exterior trim design and program management work for DaimlerChrysler. The center is expected to open in March 1999.
METALS - Fiat S.p.A. has sold the steel component manufacturing activities of its Teksid steel unit to Germany's Neumayer Holding GmbH for an undisclosed sum. Fiat said the move confirmed Teksid's objective of focusing on its core business in aluminum, cast iron and magnesium for the car parts industry. The deal involves the sale of the entire capital of Tekfor S.p.A. and Tekfor do Brasil SA, which operate plants in Turin and Brazil, respectively. Neumayer makes steel components for the auto industry with plants in Europe and North and South America.
ENGINES - Canadian auto parts maker Linamar Corp. expects to gain its first engine-building factory after it buys a plant in Torreon, Mexico, from French automaker Renault SA. Linamar, of Guelph, Ontario, is buying the plant in a joint venture with BMO Nesbitt Burns Equity Partners, Bloomberg News Service reported. Linamar will hold a 55 percent stake and operate the factory, which made 140,000 engines last year and employs 524 people.
The plant, which Renault built in 1982, will continue to supply engines to Renault. It will be Linamar's second factory in Mexico.
STOCK - Harvard Industries Inc. listed its new common stock on the NASDAQ National Market system under the symbol HAVA. Shares in the Lebanon, N.J.-based supplier of stampings and trim had been traded on the Over The Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol HAVAQ since the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year.
STRATEGY - Magna Interna-tional Inc. expects to spin off its MI Developments real estate subsidiary and other nonautomotive assets early next year to focus on its role as an auto parts maker, Bloomberg News Service reported. Magna, of Aurora, Ontario, will update shareholders at its annual meeting on Thursday, Dec. 10, but it will not seek their approval until details are worked out, a company spokesman said. Magna's shares fell earlier this year as investors became concerned with chairman and founder Frank Stronach's plans to invest in other industries, including a possible theme park in Austria. The company said it would spin off any such endeavor into a unit separate from auto parts.
ACQUISITION - Delco Remy International Inc. of Anderson, Ind., has acquired Williams Technologies Inc. of Summerville, S.C., from W.W. Williams Co. of Columbus, Ohio. Williams Technologies remanufactures automatic transmissions and torque converters for automotive and medium-and heavy-duty truck applications. Customers include Ford Motor Co., Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, General Motors Powertrain and GM's Allison Transmission Division. Williams Technologies will be integrated with Delco Remy International subsidiary Power Investments Inc.
JOINT VENTURE - Tenneco Automotive of Lake Forest, Ill., and Shanghai Tractor and Internal Combustion Engine Corp. have created a Chinese joint venture, Shanghai Walker Exhaust Systems Corp. Ltd. Production is expected to begin by mid-1999. The venture will supply complete exhaust systems to Shanghai-Volkswagen for the B5 (Passat) platform in China. Tenneco Automotive will own 55 percent of the venture.
OPENING - Meritor Automotive Inc. of Troy, Mich., has opened a heavy vehicle systems sales center, Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems Mexico SA de CV, in Mexico City. Meritor also is selecting a site for a medium- and heavy-duty axle and drivetrain component assembly plant near Mexico City, San Luis Potosi and Queretaro, Mexico. The company estimates that the plant will be 100,000 square feet and employ up to 100 people.
OPENING - TRW Automotive Safety Systems has opened a 45,360-square-foot steering wheel and airbag production plant near Barcelona, Spain. The plant employs 100 people; TRW expects it will produce more than 1 million steering wheels and 1.5 million airbags in 1999.
QS-9000: CompuDyne Corp.'s MicroAssembly Systems subsidiary, Willimantic, Conn.; Donnelly Corp.'s Donnelly Electronics joint venture, Holly, Mich.; AKW L.P., Erie, Pa., and Akron, Ohio.
ISO-14001: Meritor Automotive Inc.'s Tilbury, Ontario, brake manufacturing plant.
Calibration Laboratory A2LA (the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation): Detroit Testing Laboratory Inc., Warren, Mich. Detroit Testing Laboratory provides calibration services for companies striving to meet ISO/QS-9000, A2LA, NVLAP or other quality-based standards.