Breed debt on review for downgrade
Moody's Investors Service has placed on review for downgrade nearly $1.3 billion of Breed Technologies Inc.'s debt, Bloom-berg News Service reported. The action follows several events at the Lakeland, Fla.-based airbag supplier since its bank and bond debt issuance in June 1998. The company has very little equity and is highly leveraged with debt. Breed's CFO, Frank Gnisci, has resigned, and the company said it expects to post an estimated $30 million loss for its fiscal second quarter that ended Dec. 31, well below earlier expectations.
ACQUISITION - Dura Automotive Systems Inc. has offered about $500 million to acquire Adwest Automotive PLC, a United Kingdom-based supplier of driver control mechanisms. Adwest's gear shifters, parking brakes and engine controls business is expected to complement Dura's. Dura, of Rochester Hills, Mich., would gain from Adwest's European presence, which includes plants in Germany, France and Spain.
EARNINGS - Automotive rear-view mirror supplier Gentex Corp. posted a 53 percent earnings increase for the fourth quarter because customer General Motors increased its production after UAW strikes last summer. The Zeeland, Mich.-based company reported its fourth-quarter net income rose to $17.1 million, or 23 cents per share, from $11.2 million, or 15 cents per share, during the year-ago period. Revenue rose 22 percent to $64.3 million in the latest quarter from $52.6 million in the year-ago quarter. The higher earnings were attributed to stronger demand. But more than two-thirds of the increase came from higher mirror shipments to GM after the automaker hiked production after the strikes.
ACQUISITION - Ford Motor Co. has agreed to acquire the aluminum stamping concern Troy Design and Manufacturing Co. Price and terms were not disclosed. Troy Design, based in Redford, Mich., is a designer of dies for stamping aluminum and other manufacturing tooling. Closer cooperation between the two companies is expected to allow Ford to shorten product development time. The engineering company operates two plants and employs 340.
JOINT VENTURE - Power In-vestments Inc., a subsidiary of Delco Remy International Inc., will form a joint venture with Navistar International Corp. to provide remanufactured engines and components parts for service replacement. Magnum Power Products, the new venture, will remanufacture International brand diesel engines and some private label brand engines designed and manufactured by Navistar. Navistar will provide the technical and engineering support.
RESTRUCTURING - Benteler de Mexico has been combined with Benteler Automotive Corp. of Grand Rapids, Mich. Benteler, a supplier of chassis systems, frontal exhaust and impact management systems, said the move was made to present a more unified approach to customers in North America. Benteler de Mexico, which has plants in Puebla and Saltillo, Mexico, will add about $100 million in sales to the six-plant Benteler Automotive Corp. The parent company is Benteler AG, of Paderborn, Germany.
ACQUISITIONS - Federal-Mogul Corp. of Southfield, Mich., has completed its acquisition of the Orland, Ind., and Jackson, Mich., camshaft machining operations of Crane Technologies Group Inc. The sites employ about 230 people and have annual sales of $36 million. Federal-Mogul also announced it has agreed to acquire the piston division of Alcan Deutschland GmbH in Nuremberg, Germany, a subsidiary of Alcan Aluminum Ltd. of Montreal. The German division employs about 1,100 people and has annual sales of more than $150 million.
CONTRACTS - Excel Industries Inc. of Elkhart, Ind., will supply window regulators, drop glass and a power rear window for Ford Motor Co.'s new Explorer Sport Trac sport-utility/pickup. Excel also will provide an enhanced rear window and inline vehicle-sequenced window program for Ford's 2001 Explorer. The two programs will contribute more than $160 million to Excel's annual sales.
HONORS - Richard Flahiff, a service manager for Nollenberger Truck Center of Stony Ridge, Ohio, was named 1998 Dealer Technician of the Year by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence of Herndon, Va., and Navistar International Transportation Corp. of Chicago. The award, for success and dedication in medium- and heavy-duty truck service and repair, is given to the technician who earns the highest composite score on five ASE medium/heavy master certification exams.
HONORS - Pam Aguirre, CEO of Mexican Industries in Michigan Inc. of Detroit, was given the 1999 Women of Achievement and Courage award by the Michigan Women's Foundation of Detroit. Aguirre was selected for her commitment to community service, her achievement within her profession and her leadership, innovation, strength, flexibility and risk-taking skills. Mexican Industries supplies airbags and automotive soft trim products such as head and arm rests, leather-wrapped steering wheels, floor mats and spare tire covers.
QS-9000: Taber Bushnell Inc., Minneapolis; Wells Aluminum Corp., Kalamazoo, Mich., and Sidney, Ohio, plants; Wako Electronics Inc., Louisville, Ky.
ISO-9001: All of Youngstown, Ohio-based Commercial Intertec Corp.'s United States Hydraulic Pump Division operations; Albert Kahn Associates Inc., Detroit.
ISO-9002: NYK Bulkship Inc., Detroit.