Auto parts industry consolidator and billionaire Wilbur Ross appears to be strengthening his textile business for another push into the auto industry.
The New York investor said today he will merge his International Textile Group Inc., of Greensboro, S.C., with safety systems company Safety Components International Inc., of Greenville, S.C.
The deal, expected to close by year end, could give him added clout in auto safety systems by allowing him to expand International Textile's emphasis on engineered fabrics with Safety Components' focus on automotive safety fabrics and airbag cushions.
Ross told Automotive News that it made more sense to look at the companies as a textile business. "I have talked with the customers of our safety business, and they are all comfortable with it" (the merger).
The merger also will allow him to expand in emerging markets, another Ross goal.
Safety Components makes airbag fabric and airbag cushions used in North America and Europe. The company says its airbag components are found in more than 200 vehicle models worldwide. Major customers include auto parts manufacturers TRW Automotive Inc. and Autoliv Inc.
Ross owns 85.4 percent of International Textile and 75.6 percent of Safety Components.
International Textile CEO Joseph Gorga will head the combined company, which will keep the International Textile name. Ross will own 82 percent of the combined company.
The combined company, which will be headquartered in Greensboro, would have posted about $1.00 billion in revenue in 2005 and $443.9 million for the first half of 2006, the statement said.
The company said it expects to employ more than 9,000 people worldwide with operations in the United States, Mexico, China, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic, South Africa, Nicaragua and Vietnam.
You may e-mail Robert Sherefkin at [email protected]