MILAN (Reuters) -- Italian brake specialist Brembo expects to conclude a supply contract with a fourth high-end Japanese motorbike manufacturer and is also expanding into the aviation sector, Deputy Chairman Matteo Tiraboschi told Reuters in an interview.
Although Tiraboschi declined to give details, a spokesman for Kawasaki Heavy Industries confirmed the group was about to begin using Brembo brakes. A major supplier to Harley Davidson in the United States, Germany's BMW and VW-owned Ducati in Italy, Brembo had struggled to expand in the Japanese bike market.
That changed when Japanese producers, worst hit when the bike market contracted, decided to pay for premium parts to upgrade their offering to recover market share, Tiraboschi said. Brembo concluded deals with Suzuki and Yamaha in 2012 and Honda in 2013.
Tiraboschi also revealed that Brembo expects to conclude by the end of this year a certification process to supply the aviation industry. He said the company had already signed its first aviation supply contract, details of which would be released later this year. Brembo will focus initially on supplying executive jets and helicopters but hopes that in the longer-term aviation will become one of its business pillars.
"There are many parallels between aerospace and the world of Formula One, allowing us to grow outside the automotive sector using the same skills, technology and materials," Tiraboschi told Reuters.
Since it was founded in 1961 in a small workshop in Bergamo, near Milan, the family-controlled company has carved out a niche supplying brake discs and calipers to the high-performance motor industry. Ferrari, Porsche and Ducati for example, use them on road and racing vehicles.
Today the company has 7,600 staff and production units in Italy, eastern Europe, China, Brazil and the United States. Components for cars account for about 70 percent of revenues, with the balance split fairly evenly between motorbikes, commercial vehicles and racing.