FRANKFURT-- Johnson Controls Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire German seat specialist maker C. Rob Hammerstein Group, the U.S. supplier said Wednesday.
The purchase will boost JCI's market share for seats in Europe, where it does the majority of its business, by giving it access to CRH customers such as BMW AG and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz. The combined companies also plan to develop lightweight seats for future vehicles.
Automakers are under pressure to make their cars more fuel efficient ahead of tougher emissions rules. To help meet the new standards, which start to take effect in Europe in 2012, suppliers have been asked to slash the weight of their components because lighter cars need less powerful, more-efficient engines.
"The acquisition of CRH will substantially enhance our seat product offering as it will advance our strong market position through global manufacturing capabilities, innovation and further optimization of our portfolio," said Beda Bolzenius, JCI vice president and president of Johnson Controls Automotive Experience.
JCI, a global leader in interiors, will integrate CRH into its Johnson Controls Automotive Experience unit, which focuses on metal and mechanisms. CRH employs approximately 3,600 employees in nine countries and the acquisition will allow growth in Europe and China, the world's biggest auto market.
Completion of the acquisition, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected by the end of January 2011. Johnson Controls' would not disclose financial details.
Johnson Controls ranks No. 8 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $12.8 billion in 2009. Europe accounted for 52 percent of that total.