Chassix Inc., an automotive foundry and precision machining group, reported it has a definitive agreement to acquire an aluminum diecasting operation in southern Norway from Benteler Automotive. Benteler Automotive Farsund produces automotive subframes, swing arms, steering knuckles, and rear hubs at a rate of about 3 million units/year, for automakers that include BMW, Bentley, Ferrari, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche. The buyer described the foundry as "highly automated", with design capabilities as well as low-pressure diecasting production, with 275 employees.
The plant was established by Alcoa in 1996 and was acquired by Benteler (a Salzburg, Austria-based industrial holding company) in 2012.
The terms of the acquisition were not detailed. Chassix noted that the sales agreement does not require anti-trust clearance, but “several conditions with regard to customer and supplier contracts still need to be completed before the transfer can be effected.”
Chassix was formed in 2013 by a private finance group, Platinum Equity, which merged two of its holdings, casting group SMW Automotive LLC and specialty machining specialist Diversified Machine Inc., into a global enterprise that today operates 24 plants in seven countries, with a reported 4,500 employees.
“The acquisition of Benteler Automotive Farsund’s casting business accelerates our vertical integration in Europe, provides customer and product diversification, and further enhances our technical capabilities in our core business,” said Doug DelGrosso, president and CEO, Chassix.
In March, Chassix announced plans to build a $50-million greenfield plant in the Czech Republic to produce aluminum chassis and powertrain parts for passenger vehicles. That was set to be its first metalcasting operation in Europe. Other plants are in Brazil, China, and Mexico, as well as five metalcasting and 10 machining and assembly operations in the U.S.
The Farsund foundry is the only metalcasting plant in the Benteler Automotive portfolio, and Chassix indicated Benteler would source aluminum castings from the Norwegian operation, as necessary.
“The automotive market is rapidly changing,” according to Benteler Automotive CEO Laurent Favre. “Our ability to anticipate trends and to offer relevant customer solutions is key to our companies’ success. The divestment of Benteler Automotive Farsund will allow us to further invest into our core business and leverage upcoming opportunities.”