PARIS - Valeo Chairman Noel Goutard said he would not rule out a bid for U.S. supplier United Technologies Automotive, which has been put up for sale by its parent, United Technologies Corp.
Goutard said he also is interested in purchasing possible future spinoffs from Delphi Automotive.
'I am interested in anything,' Goutard said. 'It's in our interest to strengthen in the U.S.A., and also in Germany.'
Valeo is aiming for annual sales increases of more than 10 percent, through organic growth and acquisitions.
Investment bankers are seeking buyers for UT Automotive, which makes a wide range of products in 90 plants worldwide. Last June, Valeo bought ITT Automotive's Electrical Systems unit for about $1.8 billion.
Unveiling Valeo's 1998 results, Goutard reported a 16 percent increase in revenues to 39.5 billion francs, or about $6.8 billion, and a 15 percent growth in net profits to 1.7 billion francs, or about $293.5 million.
Goutard said Valeo will continue to reorganize in Europe. It is pursuing an industrial rationalization plan, begun in 1997, aimed at shifting low-technology activities to low-cost regions such as Mexico and Eastern Europe.
'The number of divisions will shrink,' said Goutard. 'Twenty-two European plants will be affected by the re-engineering program over the next two years. We will look for a better coupling between plants in Western and Eastern Europe.'
Valeo currently has nine operating divisions organized on a product basis. These are climate control, clutches, engine cooling, electrical systems, electronics, friction materials, lighting, security systems and wiping. It also has a distribution division.