Meritor Automotive Inc. specializes in roofs and doors, not sun visors. So it has sold its sun-visor business.
Spanish supplier Grupo Antolin-Irausa SA's new French unit, Grupo Antolin-Vosges SAS, purchased the operation in Rupt-sur-Moselle, France. It employs about 180 people.
Meritor said the move was in line with its strategy of selling noncore operations. Meritor wants to expand its business in the door, access control and roof systems areas, as well as suspensions, wheels, corner modules and other components.
Grupo Antolin said the acquisition consolidated its position as a leading European supplier of headliners. It had sales of $563 million for its 1999 financial year and has a work force of 5,000 in 46 factories.
Damian Gordo, Grupo Antolin's commercial director and chief executive for its North American operations, said, 'Acquiring Meritor's sun-visor business enables Group Antolin to enhance its position as the largest supplier in Europe of highly functional, low-cost, modular headliner components.'
Meritor is a global supplier of a broad range of components and systems for commercial, specialty and light vehicles. Its business is organized in two divisions: Light Vehicle Systems, which supplies roofs, doors, access control and suspension systems; and Heavy Vehicle Systems, which produces drivetrain systems and components for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
Meritor, of Troy, Mich., had sales of $4.5 billion in 1999. Automotive News ranks it as the world's 19th-largest supplier of original equipment parts, based on 1998 sales.
In a parallel move, Autoroofs UK Ltd. has been appointed the sole distributor of Meritor's entire aftermarket sunroof product line. Autoroofs' responsibilities include sales and marketing, inventory, technical support, warranty claims, order entry and receivables collection.
Autoroofs, of Leicester, England, has been in the sunroof industry for more than 15 years.
'Autoroofs' dedicated approach to developing both existing and expanding customer markets is what helped spur this decision,' said John Sotiroff, director of product marketing at Meritor Roof Systems, one of the Light Vehicle Systems businesses. 'Autoroofs has also made a significant investment in infrastructure and inventory, which strongly supports their ability to accommodate worldwide distribution needs.'