Mitsui to invest 416m euros in Spanish autoparts maker
TOKYO -- Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. announced Thursday that it will acquire a roughly 12.5% stake in Spanish car parts maker Gestamp Automocion for 416 million euros ($468 million).
As emissions standards tighten around the world, Mitsui sees growth potential in Gestamp's technology, which helps reduce vehicle weight for better fuel efficiency.
The Tokyo-based trader will invest in the Madrid-based concern by next March via a special-purpose company. Gestamp operates some 100 factories in 20 countries, with European and American automakers its main customers, and logs the equivalent of more than 800 billion yen in annual sales. Its mainstay hot-stamping technology, which involves pressing heated steel blanks into shape and cooling them rapidly, yields parts that are thin but strong.
Gestamp also processes aluminum and carbon fiber and has the technological prowess to advise carmakers on structural design that can make vehicle bodies stronger or lighter.
Mitsui will help Gestamp expand business relations with such automakers as Toyota Motor, Honda Motor and Mahindra & Mahindra of India. Through its partnership with Mitsui, Gestamp could add customers as well as suppliers of such materials as steel sheet. Mitsui sees broader business opportunities as automakers increasingly turn to outside companies for designing vehicle bodies and producing parts.
Mitsui has invested about 33 billion yen since 2013 in Gestamp operations in four countries, including the U.S. and Brazil. By investing directly in the parent, the Japanese company will step up its involvement by dispatching executives and expand autoparts operations to more regions.