Faurecia wins bidding tussle over auto lights maker Hella

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -French car parts suppliers Faurecia on Saturday agreed to acquire a majority stake in German automotive lighting group Hella, trumping rival bidders and creating the world’s seventh-largest player in a 6.7 billion euros deal.

FILE PHOTO: French car parts supplier Faurecia’s logo is seen during the company’s investor day in Paris, France, April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Faurecia struck the deal with a pool of family-related shareholders over their 60% stake for 60 euros ($70.75) per share and will offer the same price for the outstanding stock, Hella said in a statement on Saturday.

Faurecia said in statement the transaction represented an estimated total enterprise value of 6.7 billion euros ($7.90 billion)for 100% of Hella.

People familiar with the matter previously told Reuters that Cie Plastic Omnium and Germany’s Mahle GmbH had submitted bids at around 60 euros per share, valuing the target at roughly 7 billion euros.

The deal, expected to close early 2022, is one of the biggest in the European auto parts industry in the past three years.

According to the statement, the combined group will have pro forma sales of 23 billion euros in 2021 and wants to reach 33 billion by 2025.

Revenue synergies are expected between 300 million to 400 million euros of sales by 2025, and cash-flow optimizations are expected around 200 million euros per year on average from 2022 to 2025.

“The debt financing of the transaction is fully secured through a bridge facility with tier-one banks. Faurecia’s current credit ratings are expected to be confirmed by all three agencies shortly,” the company said

HELLA’S FOUNDING FAMILY

Hella said Faurecia had made long-term commitments regarding strategy, financing and corporate governance, as well as on employees’ interests. It also pledged that Hella’s headquarters in the western German town of Lippstadt would remain a major corporate centre.

“This combination is a unique opportunity to create a global leader in automotive technologies”, Patrick Koller, CEO of Faurecia, said in the statement.

German brakes maker Knorr-Bremse dropped out of the bidding last month.

Hella’s founding family invited competing bids for their stake with the help of investment bank Rothschild following a deal approach from private equity group Bain, sources have told Reuters.

Hella had said on Thursday it finalised negotiations with interested buyers, adding all were acceptable and protected the interests of the company and its stakeholders.

The family shareholders will receive 3.4 billion euros in cash and close to 600 million euros in Faurecia shares, when valued at a three-month average of 42.06 euros apiece.

The family shareholders said in a statement that Hella had reached a size that required external competence beyond the founding family.

“The family will continue to overlook the further development of this leading European company as shareholders and with one representative on the administrative board”, the family added.

($1 = 0.8481 euros)

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