DETROIT -- Ripplewood Holdings LLC, a New York private equity firm, bolstered its automotive castings group last week by buying Honsel International Technologies Holding of Meschede, Germany, from the Carlyle Group.
Honsel, which makes aluminum and magnesium parts such as engine blocks, transmission housings and suspension components, has annual sales of about $1.06 billion. Its customers include BMW AG, DaimlerChrysler AG, Audi AG and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA.
Richard Donnelly, who heads Ripplewood's auto efforts, would not disclose the amount paid for Honsel. In September, sources familiar with the deal had expected the price to be at least $750 million.
Honsel is Ripplewood's second casting acquisition. In June 2003 it acquired control of Asahi Tech Corp. of Japan.
The two companies want to create a global auto casting supplier, says Donnelly, who retired as head of General Motors Europe in 1999 after 35 years with GM.
Donnelly becomes Honsel's chairman. Also on the board is former DaimlerChrysler Vice Chairman Tom Stallkamp, who has also joined Ripplewood as an industrial partner in its automotive group.
A key attraction of Honsel was its expertise in lightweight metals. Automakers will have to use more aluminum and magnesium to meet fuel economy and emissions mandates, Stallkamp says.
Adds Donnelly: "They have a book of business that Tom and I have never seen before. The contracts for 2008 are larger than their current book of business. We did not expect to see that."
There are no plans to merge Honsel and Asahi, Donnelly says but it is a possibility in the future.
Ripplewood continues to look for other casting companies to fill out its global strategy.
The equity firm has a second automotive group centered on electric switches, formed by buying Niles Ltd. of Tokyo from Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. in 2001 and Micro Craft Inc. of Novi, Mich., last year.
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