WL Ross & Co buys two car parts suppliers for $305m

US turnaround specialist has bought two automotive suppliers – one German, the other Japanese – for $305 million as US billionaire Wilbur Ross continues to extend his global exposure in the sector.

WL Ross & Co, a US restructuring specialist, has acquired Japan’s Mitsuboshi Belting Kaseihin Co and BST Safety Textiles for a combined $305 million. Ross bought Mitsuboshi from its listed parent company and took BST from PPM Capital, the private equity arm of UK insurer Prudential, in a secondary deal.

Mitsuboshi, which employs 742 people in three factories in Japan, supplies instrument panels, cockpits and other plastic products for its automotive interiors to all Japanese automobile makers.

Wilbur Ross said: “This acquisition by International Automotive Components Group Japan, our joint venture with Franklin Mutual Advisers, is the first by a Western auto supplier of a major Japanese automotive interiors and exteriors company.”

BST, which employs 1250 people in southern Germany, Poland, and Virginia in the US, has proprietary technology for creating fabrics used for side curtain and rollover airbags.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Ross said “We’re getting a very complementary mix in BST. We are strong in the US and they are strong in Europe.”

Ross also told Bloomberg he saw opportunities to expand Mitsuboshi’s sales beyond Japan, China and Taiwan. “It has not been in a position to follow its customers as they expand globally.”

In addition to International Automotive Components Group, WL Ross also owns 76 percent of Safety Components International, a supplier of air bag fabrics and air bag cushions from plants in the US, Mexico, Europe, China and South Africa.

Ross said: “There are major synergies between these safety companies and our existing textile operations conducted through International Textile Group.”

Since inception in 2000, WL Ross & Co has sponsored more than $4 billion of private equity transactions across various industries including auto supply and textile. WL Ross & Co is being acquired by AMVESCAP, a global fund manager, for up to $375 million over five years.