ZF concludes sale of rubber and plastics business unit to TMT of China

Having made known its intentions to sell its rubber and plastics unit earlier this year (http://www.injectionmouldingasia.com/aug2013/news9.html), Germany’s third largest automotive components supplier ZF Friedrichshafen has formalised the sale with Shanghai-listed Zhuzhou Times New Material Technology (TMT). The rubber and plastics business unit will be carved out and transferred into a new company. TMT and ZF will ensure that all legal and contractual requirements are met and safeguard the transition of the current employees' terms and conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2014 and is subject to regulatory approvals for example in China and Europe as well as to approval by TMT’s shareholders.

ZF says that against the backdrop of strong consolidation in the rubber and plastics industry, it has concluded that the Business Unit Rubber & Plastics, currently part of ZF’s Car Chassis Technology Division, and that it will be better positioned as a standalone company, backed by a long-term strategic investor. The Business Unit Rubber & Plastics will generate sales of about EUR700 million in 2013 and has approximately 3,300 employees in nine locations across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia.

Dr Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, said: “The new owner offers opportunities to the rubber and plastics business unit that we could not have provided within ZF. We are delighted that we have found a strategic partner that follows a long-term strategy, is willing to invest in the business and provides the best solution possible for our employees and customers.”

TMT is a leading provider of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) components and polymer composite materials for the railway, automotive, construction and wind power industry. TMT aims to expand into the global automotive NVH market by making the rubber and plastics business unit one of its core business units and its primary automotive platform globally.

Dr Jun Yang, CEO of TMT, said: “The management team and employees of the rubber and plastics business unit have done an outstanding job in the past and we are very much looking forward to further developing the rubber and plastics business together with them. The team will be very important to the future strategy and operations of the company. With our financial support and strategic focus, along with the existing experienced management team and the employees, we are very optimistic about the future of the business.”

The operational headquarters of the new company will remain in Damme, Germany, and will be largely operated and managed autonomously by its existing management team. TMT will maintain all existing production sites.

“TMT’s future strong investment support for our rubber and plastics activities certainly provides us with enhanced opportunities for global business development. Additionally, TMT’s connections in China would help provide our business with much better access to China’s automotive market, the largest and fastest growing market globally,” said Dr Torsten Bremer, head of the rubber and plastics business unit. ZF and the rubber and plastics business will continue to cooperate closely and will together with TMT explore future cooperation on technology projects in fields such as, for example, electronics, industrial products, heavy truck technologies and axle systems, in order to strengthen the relationship between ZF and the rubber and plastics business and ensure a successful future for the company and all stakeholders involved, said the firm.

(IMA)

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