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ArvinMeritor studies parts sector sell-off

American vehicle components manufacturer ArvinMeritor, which has UK locations in Lancashire and Wales, may consider selling its passenger car aftermarket parts business to help global expansion in other areas.

The news follows remarks made by the company’s new chief executive, Charles McClure, that he could not rule out such a move as the business concentrates on growth areas. He feels the company needs to attract more business from the growing motor industry in Asia.

On the issue of disposing of ArvinMeritor’s aftermarket division, McClure says: “All options are on the table.”

He insists that it is “early to speculate” on the issue, although he adds that “a lot of aftermarket products have seen cyclical declines, primarily because of the quality of vehicles on the road, so the replacement cycle is longer”.

The company, whose global headquarters is in Michigan, USA, manufactures and distributes car and commercial vehicle parts, including filters, exhaust systems, catalytic converters and shock absorbers. It employs 32,000 people and has operations in 27 countries.

Brian Spratt, chief executive of the Automotive Distribution Federation, believes the decision to sell would be a particularly tough one for ArvinMeritor to make, as although the aftermarket exhaust sector is in decline, its commercial vehicle operation is doing well.

“If they sell, I believe whoever takes it on would be taking over a very strong position in the market. There’s still a high demand for their products,” says Spratt.

ArvinMeritor’s light vehicle aftermarket division had a turnover of £465m last year, a figure dwarfed by its light commercial vehicle parts arm’s turnover of £2.4bn.

McClure’s appointment follows a move from Federal Mogul, where as chief executive he helped build the company’s plans for reorganisation and emergence from Chapter 11 insolvency proceedings.

  • Last month in the US, Dana Corporation sold its global aftermarket components business to the private equity group Cypress. Capital for £600m.
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