Hebei Lingyun Industrial Group is set to acquire German locking systems specialist Kiekert in a move that will give the Chinese automotive supplier a strong position in the market for specialist latches and other automotive locks.
Kiekert said Lingyun had reached agreement with its owners, US-based BlueBay Asset Management, Silver Point Capital and Morgan Stanley. The three US financial institutions acquired control of Kiekert in a 2006 debt-for-equity swap that set the German company on a path to recovery.
The takeover requires approval from both Chinese and German authorities.
Kiekert had 2011 sales of 500 million euros. It sold 41 million latch systems during the year. The acquisition by Lingyun will create an automotive supplier with sales of more than 1 billion euros and opportunities to grow in Asia and in Europe.
At the 2011 Frankfurt auto show last September, Kiekert demonstrated how it hopes to benefit from the expected growth in electric vehicles. It plans to sell latches specifically developed for small electric cars, as well as locking devices to help keep EV charger connectors firmly locked during the charging process.