Co-CEO Don Walker, a proponent of Magna International Inc.'s acquisition strategy, indicated last week that the giant supplier may be dialing back its takeover plans this year.
"We don't see as many smaller takeover opportunities as we did last year," he told analysts and media during Magna's fourth-quarter earnings conference call. "The banks may be supporting these smaller suppliers."
Acquisitions haven't halted, though. Magna said it has signed a binding agreement to acquire Karmann Japan Co., a maker of convertible tops and a subsidiary of Wilhelm Karmann GmbH, of Germany.
Also during the call, Magna CFO Vince Galifi said the company is close to purchasing Karmann's roof operations in Germany and Poland
North America's largest supplier is expected to combine the Karmann operations with its existing car top systems -- the Porsche car-top systems subsidiary that Magna acquired in 2006. Magna's sales and profits fell in 2009 as North American production slid for the seventh consecutive year.
Magna, of Aurora, Ontario, posted a fourth-quarter sales gain of 12 percent to $5.42 billion. But sales for the year plunged 27 percent to $17.37 billion.
The company managed to narrow its fourth-quarter operating loss to $125 million from a loss of $165 million for the same period last year. For the full year, Magna reported an operating loss of $511 million, compared with a profit of $328 million in 2008.
Magna said it expects 2010 sales of $19 billion to $20 billion, based on light-vehicle production volumes of about 10.5 million in North America and about 11.4 million in Europe.
Reuters contributed to this report