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Old 12-04-2006, 20:42   #1 (permalink)
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US:Valeo signs deal to buy parts plant from Ford

Valeo signs deal to buy parts plant from Ford

Dale Jewett | Automotive News

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said today it has worked out an agreement in which French auto supplier Valeo SA will buy the climate control business that Ford took back from Visteon Corp.

The deal, which hinges on reaching a new wage deal with the UAW, covers the Sheldon Road parts-making plant in Plymouth Township, Mich. The plant has 1,250 employees and covers more than 1 million square feet.

A purchase price and other details were not disclosed today, pending an agreement with the union. But the business being discussed covers manufacturing, engineering and supply contracts.

The plant supplies air conditioning units and radiators to Ford, Valeo said in a statement. The plant's sales are expected to total about $450 million this year.

Valeo said the deal is part of an effort to be a global leader in climate control systems.

Automotive News reported in September that Valeo officials had toured the plant as part of a possible sale.

This is the first deal Ford has made to sell one of the 14 parts plants and six technical centers it took back from Visteon in October 2005 as part of a bailout of the troubled auto supplier. By 2009, the bailout is expected to cost Ford $2.25 billion.

Ford put all the former Visteon properties into a new entity, Automotive Components Holdings LLC. Ford wants to run the plants only until they can be sold or closed.

Ford previously said it plans to close two of the plants. Completion of the deal for the Sheldon Road plant would leave 11 plants available.

Visteon was created in 2000 in a spinoff of the parts-making operations of Ford.

Valeo, of Paris, ranks No. 12 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with estimated worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $10.58 billion in 2005.
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