MAUMEE, Ohio — With little fanfare this year, one of the global auto industry's oldest suppliers began repositioning itself for a business of the future.
Dana Inc. has made two key acquisitions in the past four months. The 114-year-old manufacturer agreed to acquire controlling interest in the Canadian company TM4 and signed a deal to buy the Drive Systems business of Swiss engineering and tech company Oerlikon Group.
The acquisitions are intended to fortify Dana's expanding electric driveline portfolio. The $605 million Oerlikon acquisition alone will bring Dana about $800 million in additional annual revenue, along with five r&d centers, 12 plants and controlling interest in a Chinese joint venture.
Dana also came within a whisker of buying Britain's GKN this year but was outbid in the final hours by Melrose Industries in a hostile takeover.
Dana's transactions come on top of four other strategic acquisitions over the past three years.
What's going on at the suburban Toledo, Ohio, maker of axles, driveshafts and sealing products?
The goal, says Dana CEO James Kamsickas, is to keep an old-school supplier firmly planted on the breaking wave of developing technologies.
"If you look at our five completed deals — six if you include the Oerlikon deal — they've all been a little bit bigger each time, and they're all tied into a specific strategic intent all along the way," Kamsickas told Automotive News in his office here. "Others think of us as a kind of Rust Belt, heavy metals, stamping, forging company, but we're the furthest thing from that these days."
"It's really a high-tech company," Kamsickas said.