DETROIT - New York investor Wilbur Ross may have hit some snags on the way to rolling up the auto interiors sector.
Collins & Aikman Corp., a linchpin of Ross' acquisition strategy, is looking increasingly like a company that plans to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a stand-alone entity rather than being broken up and sold.
CEO Frank Macher is trying to convince creditors that there's value in having the company exit bankruptcy intact. If he can, Ross will have missed a key quarry in his effort to build an interiors empire in North America.
Lear Corp. also would lose under that scenario. The seat and interiors supplier in October told of plans to put its money-losing interior trim business in a joint venture with Ross. But if Ross cannot land Collins & Aikman, that deal may fall apart.
Lear CEO Robert Rossiter told auto analysts last month that he believed a possible Lear deal with Ross depended on Ross completing the acquisition of Collins & Aikman.
"The way we have it structured right now, the deal probably
wouldn't happen without the acquisition of Collins & Aikman," Rossiter said at a meeting of the Auto Analysts of New York in January in Dearborn, Mich.