June 23, 2017 3:56 am JST

China's Joyson eyes new heights through Takata

Aggressive acquisitions propel newcomer's rapid rise in car safety devices

YU NAKAMURA, Nikkei staff writer

GUANGZHOU -- Poised for a second major acquisition in a little over a year, Ningbo Joyson Electronic has risen from a virtual nobody in automotive safety components to supplier verging on global reach.

Founded in 2004, Joyson is a new face even in its native China. It listed its shares in Shanghai only in 2011. Sales for the fiscal year ended March 2016 totaled about 18.5 billion yuan ($2.7 billion).

Acquiring Takata is the logical next step for Joyson

Chinese industry insiders say what Joyson lacks in outstanding technical strengths it makes up for in skill at acquisitions, enabling it to expand its presence in a wide range of components.

The company made a splash when it bought Key Safety Systems for $920 million in June 2016. Many initially doubted that Joyson could pull off a deal for the U.S.-based automotive supplier, but it succeeded by establishing rapport through KSS's Chinese chief executive, Jason Luo.

Key Safety is now expected to sponsor the rehabilitation of Japan's Takata, with a new company created under KSS poised to buy most of the air bag maker's operations for about 180 billion yen ($1.61 billion). If that deal is completed, Joyson would control two of the four leading players in the global market for auto safety devices, like air bags and seat belts.

The Chinese company has also purchased a number of midtier auto components makers in Europe and the U.S. "Acquiring Takata is the logical next step for Joyson," given potential synergies with KSS, one industry source said.

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