Webasto Group, a German maker of automotive roof and heating systems, has agreed to buy the North American convertible roof business of bankrupt supplier Wilhelm Karmann GmbH.
The deal, signed yesterday, puts Webasto in control of Karmann's business in the United States and a factory in Mexico, Webasto said today in a statement. The price wasn't disclosed.
The purchase furthers Webasto's expansion in North America, following last year's takeover of the convertible roof operations of Edscha. Webasto's convertible roof unit, realigned under the name Webasto-Edscha Cabrio, has 1,350 employees, making soft- and retractable hard-top roofs.
Karmann's assets will be rolled into Webasto-Edscha, adding 150 employees. Karmann's North American operations have annual sales of roughly $40 million, Webasto said. Erik Roeren, former president and CEO of Karmann U.S.A., will keep his position, Webasto said.
In May, German antitrust regulators blocked an attempt by Canadian supplier Magna International Inc. to buy Karmann's convertible roof business.
Magna's offer beat a rival bid by Spanish supplier CIE Automotive.
But authorities said Magna's purchase would raise competition concerns by consolidating the convertible roof market in two companies: Magna and Webasto. The Webasto-Karmann deal applies only to Karmann's businesses in Mexico and the United States.
Karmann, known for creating the Volkswagen Beetle-based Karmann Ghia coupe in the 1950s, filed for insolvency in April, 2009.
Webasto AG ranks No. 80 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with sales to automakers of $1.5 billion last year. Europe accounts for about 50 percent of its business and North America 16 percent.