STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Autoliv Inc. has agreed to acquire the automotive radar sensors business of Tyco Electronics Ltd. for $42 million.
The business that Autoliv intends to acquire, is a “carve-out” of the Radio Frequency and Subsystems business unit within Tyco Electronics. This part of the business unit designs and manufactures active radar proximity and attribute sensor systems used in vehicle driver assist and safety applications for the global automotive market — and is the development partner of Daimler for automotive radar sensor technology. Existing customers include BMW and Chrysler along with other non-OEM customers.
Based in Lowell, Mass., and Schweinfurt, Germany, the business includes approximately 115 highly specialized technical, commercial and manufacturing employees who will support the activities required to intensify Autoliv’s efforts in the growing automotive active safety market.
This acquisition will enable Autoliv to leverage existing customer relationships and safety system capability to increase its strong market position in automotive safety electronics and immediately become one of the largest suppliers of automotive radar products in the world.
"This strategic acquisition is another key step to demonstrate our commitment to active safety while providing advanced yet affordable technology to our customers and addressing the safety desires of the consumer," said Jan Carlson, president and CEO of Autoliv. “As the automotive industry shifts toward smaller vehicles, it will be increasingly important to design vehicles to avoid a crash altogether, while improving fuel efficiency. The pace could also be accelerated considering recent developments in the cost of fuel and the recently updated New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) in both Europe and the United States. In Europe, a ‘Beyond NCAP’ protocol has been introduced to promote advanced safety systems and in the U.S., NHTSA will begin to include Crash Avoidance Technology in its Star-Rating information starting in 2009.”
The technology and intellectual property included in the transaction includes short-, medium- and long-range radar products. Automotive safety system applications for this technology include blind spot detection, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation by braking and side pre-crash sensing, along with back-up and park assist functions.
It is Autoliv’s expectation that the sales of the acquired business will approach $100 million within three years and that this acquisition should not materially impact Autoliv’s earnings in 2008. In 2009, Autoliv expects the business will have an accretive earnings per share effect and should be accretive to operating margin and return on capital in 2010. The deal is expected to close by the end of September 2008, assuming all regulatory approvals are obtained.
Following the announcement of the agreed acquisition, Autoliv said it intends to increase the rate of share repurchases given the current price of the company.
Commenting on the increase, Carlson stated, “This is in line with our stated “opportunistic” buyback philosophy. Simply put, we aim to buy more shares when we believe the timing is right and the price is attractive. Working with our external financial advisers we continuously analyze the market situation and in light of recent stock market developments we believe the timing is right and that our shareholders are best served by us using our very strong balance sheet position to increase our repurchases again.”
The current repurchase mandate authorizes the company’s management to repurchase another 4.9 million shares at a pace it deems best for the company and its long-term shareholders, since there is no expiration date of the repurchase mandate.
For more information about Autoliv, visit: www.autoliv.com.
For more information about Tyco Electronics, go to: www.tycoelectronics.com.