Novares opens its third plant in Chihuahua – to supply Ford and BMW

Novares opens its third plant in Chihuahua – to supply Ford and BMW

Novares recently celebrated the opening of its third Mexican production plant in Chihuahua, to total five in Mexico.

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There are now three located in Chihuahua, one in Puebla and one in Silao. The first Chihuahua plant was established in 1994, the second in 1997, and both specialise in producing plastic components such as radio bezels, HAVC controls for interiors.

The Puebla plant opened in 2003, specialises in injection moulding, parts for vehicle exteriors, interiors and the engine; and the Silao plant opened in 2016, it produces mouldings by injection for engine parts.

The new Chihuahua plant has been established to expand current business with Ford and further develop programs with their new customer, BMW. In addition, Novares promises to meet automotive industrial standards with the use of their Smart rules and tools. These processes ensure that lean and efficient manufacturing principles are applied to all operational activities. The new plant will house 276 employees, in a 7,900 m² facility and an annual turnover of $23.5 million is estimated.

Novares has invested a total of $15.6 million in this site which is key for the Group. This contribution consists of $2.6 million on building renovations and $13.0 million spent on new equipment, machinery, including 25 new Engel Injection Molding Machines hosted locally.

"We are very excited and proud to open our fifth production plant in Mexico. I would like to thank all our staff for their dedication and effort they have made to get the new machinery and operations set up. We are looking forward to closely working with our customers, Ford, BMW and help them take their business to the next level" said Charles Holmes, Plant Director, Novares Chihuahua, Mexico.

The Group Novares started its production in Mexico in 1994 and employs 1185 people in the five plants. Novares' main objective and ambition is to become a top automotive supplier for interiors, exteriors, engine and to be a leading producer of plastic components solutions.

Dana announces agreement to combine with GKN Driveline

Dana announces agreement to combine with GKN Driveline

Dana Incorporated has announced that it has signed definitive agreements to combine with the Driveline division of GKN plc to create Dana plc, a global leader in driveline systems.

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The total consideration is composed of $1.6 billion in cash proceeds to GKN plc, the assumption of approximately $1.0 billion of net pension liabilities, and 133 million new Dana plc shares issued to GKN's shareholders, valued at approximately $3.5 billion (based on Dana's share price as of March 8, 2018).

Under terms of the agreements, Dana shareholders will own approximately 52.75% of the company with GKN shareholders owning 47.25%. The combined company will be domiciled in the United Kingdom as Dana plc and will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DAN.

"This transformative and strategic transaction solidifies Dana as a world leader in vehicle drive systems and establishes a leading position in electric propulsion, which we see as the future of vehicle drivetrains," said James Kamsickas, president and CEO of Dana. "We have a long history of partnering with GKN, and the companies possess similar cultures and exceptionally talented people. Our highly complementary businesses share a deep understanding of our customers' long-term requirements. We look forward to welcoming GKN Driveline into the Dana family and to delivering value and growth to our shareholders."

Compelling strategic rationale for the combination

Scaling the Portfolio: With pro forma sales of approximately $13.4 billion in 2017, the company will be the global leader in vehicle drive systems across all three major mobility markets – light vehicle, commercial vehicle, and off-highway.
Leading Electrification: Core eDrive technology portfolio uniquely positions the company to capitalize on electrification opportunities in a rapidly changing market with significant growth potential.
Completing the Platform: The combined entity will provide global coverage to all major customers with an enhanced product portfolio, balanced end markets, and a diverse geographic presence – strengthening the company's presence in key markets such as China.
Delivering Value: The combined company will have a strong balance sheet, and the transaction is expected to result in $235 million of annual cost synergies within three years and be accretive to earnings in the first full year.

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GKN Driveline has built market leadership positions in three light-vehicle product segments – constant-velocity jointed driveshafts, all-wheel-drive systems, and electrified driveline solutions. The business has expertise across mechanical systems, electronic and software control, and particularly vehicle integration. The transaction also includes GKN's Off-Highway Powertrain Services business, an expert in off-highway power delivery and service.

With approximately 35,000 employees, GKN Driveline has operations in 23 countries and has 61 manufacturing locations, including one of the largest driveline businesses in China via its joint venture, Shanghai GKN Huayu Driveline Systems (known as SDS). In 2017, the business generated consolidated sales of approximately $6.2 billion.

Financial highlights
Dana has put in place committed debt financing to fund the cash consideration and will issue 133 million shares of Dana plc stock to GKN shareholders to consummate the transaction. This mix of consideration preserves the company's strong balance sheet, with an expected net debt / adjusted EBITDA ratio (including GKN's share of its China joint venture but excluding any synergies) of approximately 2.0x.

Dana expects to deliver annual run-rate cost synergies of $235 million within three years. The combination will also yield tax benefits, creating further value for shareholders. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Dana's diluted adjusted EPS in 2019.

"We believe this transaction will result in a much stronger Dana, both strategically and financially, by taking advantage of the combined company's global scale, technology leadership, strong balance sheet, and attractive cash flow profile," said Jonathan Collins, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Dana. "In the near-term, we expect our business to achieve best-in-class returns on capital and continue on the path to an investment grade credit profile."

Dana expects to complete the transaction, which is subject to shareholder and customary regulatory approvals, in the second half of 2018.

Johnson Controls to explore strategic alternatives for the Power Solutions Business

Johnson Controls to explore strategic alternatives for the Power Solutions Business

Johnson Controls International plc has announced that it is exploring strategic alternatives for its Power Solutions business.

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Johnson Controls' portfolio includes two leading platforms within their respective industries – an integrated buildings technology and solutions business and a power solutions business that is the clear global leader in providing battery solutions to the automotive sector with an advantaged position in the aftermarket. Both of these platforms are well positioned but are also navigating markedly different industry landscapes with unique strategic, financial and operational opportunities and requirements.

"Creating shareholder value is our top priority. Our focus is on improving operational execution, realising merger synergy and productivity benefits, and optimising the business portfolio. Given the differing dynamics of the platforms, we are evaluating strategic alternatives for Power Solutions," said George Oliver, chairman and chief executive officer. "Over the years our team has built Power Solutions into an incredible business with a high-margin aftermarket model that has delivered consistent growth through business cycles. These strong fundamentals, as well as recently issued provisions of US Tax Reform, will be taken into account as we review the alternatives and assess which option creates the best long-term results for the business and the most value for shareholders."

"Today's announcement also reflects our strategic priority to strengthen and invest in our global market-leading positions in HVAC, fire and security solutions and integrated Building Management Systems, which operate in attractive vertical markets with strong growth prospects," Oliver added.

Johnson Controls Power Solutions is a world leader working in partnership with its customers to meet increasing electrification requirements in vehicles. Our 15,000 Power Solutions employees create, manufacture, and distribute the most advanced battery technologies for virtually every type of vehicle. These technologies deliver uniquely sustainable, next-generation performance.

In fiscal 2017, Power Solutions generated $7.3 billion in revenue and $1.6 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation ("EBITDA").

Johnson Controls expects to complete its assessment of strategic alternatives over the next several months. There can be no assurances as to the form and timing of any transaction as a result of this strategic review, or if a transaction will be consummated, and any final decision remains subject to approval by the Johnson Controls Board of Directors. Johnson Controls does not intend to make any further public statements until a specific determination has been made.

To assist the Company in its review, Johnson Controls has retained Centerview Partners as financial advisers.

ELG Carbon Fibre accelerates UK expansion plans

ELG Carbon Fibre accelerates UK expansion plans

ELG Carbon Fibre, a market leader in recycled carbon fibre materials, has announced plans to increase the capacity of their UK facility to satisfy increasing demand from large volume, commercial applications that require product supply on a significant scale.

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Investments are focussed on increasing the capacity to recover fibre from uncured prepreg and laminate feedstock and the commercialisation of the company's CARBISO MB product line for reinforced thermoplastic compounds.

This growth has been driven predominately by development projects and technical collaborations with leading automotive and aerospace OEMs and tier ones during the past two years.

ELG's existing UK facility currently houses highly specialised reclamation and conversion equipment that supports the manufacture of recycled carbon fibre products to be reintroduced into the supply chain.

In 2016 to promote the use of recycled carbon in the composites industry, ELG installed a custom built, nonwoven production line to manufacture carbon fibre and hybrid thermoplastic mats in aerial weights from 100-500 gsm and widths up to 2.7 metres. These products are currently being used in production automotive programmes.

ELG is now directing resource into the commercialisation of the CARBISO MB products for the reinforced thermoplastic compounds industry. MB products are produced through the conversion of high grade, chopped fibres into a pellet form and tailored to applications that would traditionally have used chopped virgin carbon fibre.

ELG's technical partners Sanko Gosei have been integral in the development phases of the MB range. Both parties have conducted extensive trials replacing glass fibre reinforced compounds with ELG's recycled carbon fibre reinforced compounds in a variety of demonstration parts and achieved impressive weight reductions.

To support this growth in the production of finished products, ELG is upgrading its pyrolysis furnace to increase it's output capacity beyond the current 1,000 tonnes of carbon fibre per year. This upgrade will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018, after which ELG estimates it will be able to deliver 1,700 tonnes of carbon fibre products to its customers from the Coseley plant each year.

"We are very focused on investments that offer customers a viable, high volume alternative to costly virgin carbon fibre", commented Frazer Barnes, Managing Director ELG Carbon. "Recycling carbon fibres and converting them into consistent, affordable products is now a reality and we can deliver products in the significant quantities required at the speed the industry demands".

Supplier Schaeffler pushes ahead with key future programme

Supplier Schaeffler pushes ahead with key future programme

Global automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler is pushing ahead with its transformation process in readiness for the future.

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It is doing this by means of "Agenda 4 plus One", a programme which it launched in 2016 and which has now been expanded to comprise 20 initiatives. The programme is structured into four plus one categories: "Customer focus", "Operational excellence", "Financial flexibility", "Leadership and talent management", and – as the "plus One" – "Securing long-term competitiveness and value creation". These categories are further broken down into 20 individual initiatives, including "E-Mobility", "Industry 4.0" and "Digital Agenda".

The objective of the "Agenda 4 plus One" programme is to sustainably grow the Schaeffler Group's value and secure the group's competitiveness. The programme will add some €300 million ($374 million) to Schaeffler's earnings by 2022. It is also the basis on which the company intends to bring its EBIT margin before special items back up to its long-term average of 12 to 13% and achieve the financial targets set for 2020. In addition, Schaeffler will invest about €1 billion in relation to the "Agenda 4 plus One" programme in order to safeguard the Schaeffler Group's operating profitability and put it on a sustainable, long-term footing. 35% of the overall "Agenda 4 plus One" programme, including the newly launched initiatives, has already been implemented. Worldwide there are currently about 1,000 Schaeffler employees actively involved in implementing the programme.

Among the 20 initiatives making up the "Agenda 4 plus One" programme are the "E-Mobility" and "Industry 4.0" initiatives in the Automotive OEM and Industrial divisions, respectively. The objective of these two initiatives is to further develop and future-proof the Schaeffler Group's product range and service portfolio and to focus them more closely on mechatronic systems.

In its Automotive OEM division, the company has achieved a number of further E-Mobility milestones, with eight volume production orders and 25 customer projects currently under way. These developments are driven and coordinated by three competence centres, located in Germany, China and the USA. Alongside this, under the "Industry 4.0" initiative, the company intends to expand the mechatronics capabilities of its Industrial division. It will achieve this by combining all of its existing activities in a single organisational unit and supplementing them with digital service offerings. In doing this, the company has set itself the target of increasing the Industry 4.0 share of its Industrial division's total revenue to 10% by 2022.

Under the "Factory for tomorrow" initiative, Schaeffler is building a 315,000 square-metre state-of-the-art "factory of the future" in Xiangtan, China. The "Agenda 4 plus One" programme will see the company invest some €100 million in this facility. The factory's modular design and the use of digital technologies throughout will allow a high degree of flexibility in space utilisation while at the same time reducing costs over the factory's entire lifecycle.

The "Agenda 4 plus One" programme also includes the "Working Capital" initiative, which uses systematic working capital management to optimise cash flow generation and reduce capital employed. The company has already succeeded in reducing its capital employed by €150 million through active management of its trade payables. In addition to this, Schaeffler is harmonising its terms of payment for customers and suppliers and is optimising and standardising the associated internal processes group-wide.

An "Agenda 4 plus One" initiative of particular importance is the Digital Agenda. The Digital Agenda comprises four elements – "Products & Services", "Machines & Processes", "Analyses & Simulation" and "User Experience & Customer Value" – and its purpose is to drive the uptake and use of digital technology within the Schaeffler Group and to expand the group's digital capabilities and competencies. This will include establishing linkages between the real and digital worlds and using "digital twins" as a key prerequisite for innovations and data-driven business models. In addition, under the auspices of its "IT 2020" initiative, Schaeffler is investing in the expansion and upgrade of its IT infrastructure and the deployment and use of advanced IT standard solutions.

In his closing remarks at the press conference, Schaeffler AG CEO Klaus Rosenfeld made the following statement: "'Agenda 4 plus One' is our programme for the future, a blueprint by which we are preparing the Schaeffler Group for the challenges of tomorrow. It is broad-based and encompasses 20 initiatives, including E-Mobility, Industry 4.0 and our Digital Agenda. 'Agenda 4 plus One' is the driving force behind our transformation. Because we want to be become agile as well as quicker and bolder."

Further growth for thyssenkrupp in Eastern Europe with new Hungary plant

Further growth for thyssenkrupp in Eastern Europe with new Hungary plant

thyssenkrupp opened a further automotive components plant in Hungary, a new production site for chassis and powertrain components has been built in Jászfényszaru, 70 kilometres east of Budapest, over the past months.

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It will produce electric power steering systems and valve train systems for German and international OEMs. thyssenkrupp invested around €100 million ($123 million) in the construction of the new plant complex. As production is ramped up, up to 500 new jobs will be created at the site in the coming months.

"In recent years Hungary has developed into an important player for the European auto industry. Last year alone some 480,000 cars rolled off the country's production lines. Our customers are investing in new plants, and we are also looking to continue our profitable growth in Hungary. Our focus is on high-tech products such as electric steering systems and components for highly efficient internal combustion engines and electric motors," said Karsten Kroos, CEO of thyssenkrupp's Components Technology business area.

A further plant for springs and stabilisers is currently being built in Hungary and is scheduled to start production later this year. New customer orders make the expansion of production capacities in Hungary necessary. Thus thyssenkrupp continues its profitable growth strategy in the components business. The division increased its order intake by 14% last fiscal year.

thyssenkrupp's new plant in Jászfényszaru is the company's first in Europe to locate two different product technologies at the same site. Combining the activities will allow efficiency and cost advantages to be utilised. thyssenkrupp has already launched such combined sites successfully in China and North America in recent years.

thyssenkrupp currently operates an axle assembly plant and a steel service centre in Győr for automotive customers in Hungary. The company also has a software development centre in Budapest creating software products for electric power steering systems and new applications for steer-by-wire and autonomous driving solutions. Overall thyssenkrupp currently employs around 1,100 people in the automotive industry in Hungary.

thyssenkrupp in the automotive industry

thyssenkrupp is one of the world's leading suppliers of materials and components to the auto industry. Nine out of ten premium class cars are fitted with components made by the company. One in three trucks feature drive components from thyssenkrupp. In the 2016/2017 fiscal year thyssenkrupp's sales in the automotive sector came to around €11.2 billion. Customers include practically all the big auto manufacturers.

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