Lear wins EU approval to buy UT unit

$2.3 billion deal would add 90 plants

Auto parts

May 04, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

BRUSSELS -- Lear Corp., the world's largest maker of car seats, received European Union approval yesterday to buy United Technologies Corp.'s auto-parts unit for $2.3 billion.

The European Commission, the EU's executive agency, said the purchase of United Technologies' UT Automotive unit won't threaten fair competition in European markets.

Lear had 1998 European sales of $2.9 billion and UT Automotive had about $1 billion in sales in the region.

United Technologies is selling the unit as it concentrates on its more profitable businesses such as Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Sikorsky helicopters. UT Automotive is expected to boost annual worldwide sales by about $3 billion for Lear, which had 1998 revenue of $9.06 billion.

The purchase also bolsters Lear's electrical-products business, letting it compete in making instrument panels with rival Johnson Controls Inc. It comes as automakers such as Ford Motor Co., UT Automotive's biggest customer, shift business to suppliers who can provide larger sections of cars rather than individual parts.

The sale is expected to be competed today.

UT Automotive has about 44,000 employees and 90 plants in 18 countries. Lear already has 60,000 workers in 28 nations.

Pub Date: 5/04/99

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