Sweden's Plastal Holding AB has signed a deal to buy German plastics injection molder Dynamit Nobel Kunststoff GmbH, creating a European auto plastics supplier that expects about $1.65 billion in annual sales.
The sale agreement was announced in November for undisclosed terms. The sale is part of a reshuffling of the European automotive supply industry, which is seeing the emergence of major players from a region that previously relied on a network of smaller competitors.
"This trend has been affecting every system, every material," said Antonio Ferreira, manager of European component forecasts for auto consulting group CSM Worldwide's office in London. "It's happened in interiors, in seats and electronics. It's now affecting plastics as well."
Plastal can move into the upper ranks with the purchase of DNK, of Weissenburg, Germany. Plastal, of Kungalv, Sweden, has 12 plants in seven countries -- Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany and Poland. Its 2,300 employees made about $600 million worth of parts last year, including bumper fascias, sill covers, spoilers, grilles, instrument panels, center consoles and interior and exterior trim.
DNK, part of GEA Group AG in Bochum, Germany, is far larger than Plastal, with about $1.25 billion in sales and 26 plants in eight countries. Thirteen of those plants are in Germany. The others are in France, Spain, Italy, England, the Slovak Republic, Turkey and Argentina.
GEA Group has had its plastics company for sale for more than a year. In 2004, GEA had an agreement to sell DNK to Flex-N-Gate Corp., of Urbana, Ill., but that sale was never completed.
At about the same time that GEA and Flex-N-Gate ended negotiations, Plastal came under new ownership, with investment group Nordic Capital Fund V buying a majority share in the company this year.
Buying DNK will allow Plastal to become a leading supplier, with products spread over the entire European auto industry, CEO Christer Palm said in a news release. No single automaker will account for more than 15 percent of the company's sales.
The agreement calls for Plastal to acquire auto supplier Johnson Control Inc.'s 27 percent share in Menzolit-Fibron GmbH, a DNK subsidiary and a producer of sheet molding compounds and thermoplastics.
The acquisition is one of a series of shifts among European suppliers in the past few years.