With huge chunks of Delphi Corp. up for sale, a Japanese parts maker is window-shopping for Delphi's distressed brake operations.
Two sources said last week that Akebono Brake Industry Co. Ltd. is interested in Delphi's brake business.
Akebono is one of Japan's largest brake designers and component makers. It supplies disc brake calipers, drums, service brakes and parking brakes. It supplies automakers and several Tier 1 suppliers.
Akebono posted global original-equipment revenue of $740 million in 2005.
Unlike European auto suppliers, Japanese parts companies typically shun acquisitions in North America. They tend to prefer a safer growth strategy of winning business on new vehicles and opening plants on undeveloped land in rural or suburban areas.
But Akebono and Delphi share a long history. They had a 19-year U.S. brake joint venture called Ambrake in the United States until 2005, when Delphi sold its 50 percent stake to Akebono.
The Ambrake strategy allowed Akebono to gather brake business from the new Japanese transplants, while Delphi delivered business with its largest customer, General Motors.