EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been changed to reflect that suppliers have been raising money in both credit and equity markets.
DETROIT -- Investors are showing continued interest in the auto-parts sector's stock and bond offerings.
Consider the market's reception this month to Dutch auto parts supplier Sensata Technologies Holding NV, with U.S. offices in Attleboro, Mass. The sensor and control instrument company raised $569 million in one of the largest U.S. initial public offerings this year on the New York Stock Exchange.
In the past month, automotive suppliers have raised or announced plans to raise more than $1.3 billion in credit and equity markets, according to an informal Automotive News roundup. Among them:
-- TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., in a filing early this month, said owner Blackstone Group LP and certain executives will sell 11 million shares in a secondary offering.
-- Tower International Inc., a Chapter 11 survivor owned by Cerberus Capital Management, filed documents early this month indicating plans to raise up to $100 million through an initial public offering.
-- Lear Corp. late this month said it plans to offer $700 million in senior unsecured notes. Lear, which exited bankruptcy in November, plans to use much of the money it raises to repay $925 million of credit lines.
After restructuring to get through the downturn, many parts suppliers now say they will be profitable if North American vehicle sales reach 12 million units a year. They're not counting on a return to volumes of 15 million or more.
Investors have rewarded the industry's new, lower cost structure. In 2009, the global parts industry averaged an 81 percent return to shareholders, including stock price and dividends, according to the Automotive News/PricewaterhouseCoopers Shareholder Value Index.