TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., the safety components supplier being acquired by Germany's ZF Friedrichshafen AG, said it plans to open three plants in China this year and next.
"The opening of these new facilities demonstrates our continued investment in China and our commitment to supporting the rapid growth of the automotive market here," said Mark Stewart, Asia Pacific vice president of TRW. "With our new facilities, we will have a total of 25 operations in China and in excess of 10,000 employees since we began operations over 20 years ago."
Separately, TRW said it agreed to sell its linkage and suspension business, with annual revenue of $550 million, to Tokyo conglomerate THK Co. for $400 million. The divestiture is expected to close by the end of TRW's third quarter.
The sale of the business eliminates the overlap in market positions for TRW and ZF, TRW CEO John Plant said.
German supplier ZF agreed in September to acquire TRW for roughly $13.5 billion, including debt. That deal is expected to close in the first half of this year.
Once completed, the transaction will position ZF to become the world's second-largest original-equipment parts supplier to automakers, trailing only Robert Bosch GmbH.
Two of the new China plants will be on the same Zhanghjiagang campus in the province of Jiangsu. One of those plants, for braking components, will begin operations at the end of the second quarter. It will manufacture and assemble electric park brake, integrated park brake and front calipers, housing machining, carrier machining and actuation machining and assembly.
The second plant there will make occupant safety systems, starting in November. It will assemble driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags and other parts.
TRW will localize inflator production at the third plant, its occupant safety systems facility in Xian. Production is scheduled to start in July 2016.