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TRW Automotive moves closer to independence

Lucas brand owner TRW Automotive is a step closer to regaining independent status with a buyout bid of $4.73bn (£2.99bn) tabled by New York equity company Blackstone Group.

TRW's parent company Northrop Grumman, is believed to have agreed the price subject to retaining a small stake in the automotive components business it bought as part of the deal to swallow its aerospace and defence systems rival earlier this year.

A Blackstone-backed sale would separate TRW Automotive and its braking, steering and suspension subsidiary TRW Automotive Aftermarket Europe from Northrop Grumman's core interests.

An integral part of any buyout deal would be TRW's new braking friction manufacturing facility at Olvega, Spain, officially opened in September following investment of 15m Euros (£9.5m).

Senior executives at TRW's UK Chassis Systems operation are understood to be in positive mood at the prospect – and timing – of independence, one insider tells AM. TRW Automotive Aftermarket has just spent more than £1m developing Lucas Laser 3000pc, the British-made next generation diagnostic tool set to be launched in January.

The laptop size system incorporates many features of its predecessor, Lucas Laser 2000, but has enhanced screen organisation and a PC base with internet communications capability.

Every 3000pc will be sold with a unique e-mail address and identity, giving users access to software releases and online updates.

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