Plastic Omnium turning its full attention to auto

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Plastic Omnium SA Plastic Omnium makes exterior parts such as bumpers, fenders and tailgates and blow moulds fuel tanks. It is selling its environment division to focus on the auto industry.

French auto parts supplier Plastic Omnium SA is selling its environment business to an investment firm to focus solely on its auto supply operations.

The Paris-based company is a major plastics moulder, with injection moulding and blow moulding. It makes exterior plastic parts such as bumpers, tailgates, spoilers and fenders, while its fuel systems business blow moulds fuel tanks and is increasing its investments in parts for hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles.

It was the No. 4 blow moulder in North America in the most recent Plastics News ranking, with more than $1 billion in estimated sales. In injection moulding, it was ranked at No. 15 with $475 million in estimated North American sales.

In June, it completed its buyout of a former partner in HBPO GmbH, taking a majority stake in that business, which moulds and assembles front-end modules, an area it said offers more opportunities.

Hella Behr Plastic Omnium was formed as an equal partnership in 2004 among automotive suppliers Hella GmbH & Co. KgaA, Plastic Omnium SA and Behr GmbH & Co. KG. In March 2018, German supplier Mahle GmbH, which became a majority owner of the Behr Group in 2013, announced plans to sell its shares in the joint venture to Plastic Omnium. Lighting specialist Hella still holds 33.33 percent of the shares.

Plastic Omnium SA Plastic Omnium's environment division moulds rubbish and recycling containers used by communities. It has annual sales of more than $350 million and 1,800 employees.

Globally, HBPO produces more than 5.7 million units annually, reporting sales of more than $2.3 billion in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region.

"Growth potential has been strengthened by the takeover ... of HBPO, the world leader for front-end modules," Plastic Omnium noted in its July 20 financial report covering the first half of the 2018 fiscal year.

HBPO recently announced increased investments in North America, including an ongoing search for a front-end module assembly plant in Michigan.

Plastic Omnium SA Plastic Omnium's environment division moulds rubbish and recycling containers used by communities. It has annual sales of more than $350 million and 1,800 employees.

The environment business Plastic Omnium wants to sell primarily moulds large waste and recycling carts used by municipalities, with six plants in France, Germany and Spain and a new research and development centre in St. Priest, France.

It has annual sales of 330 million euros ($385.9 million) and 1,800 employees in 12 countries. Plastic Omnium sold its North American environment operations in 2000.

The environment unit was the founding business of Plastic Omnium, started by Pierre Burelle after World War II. The company is still controlled by the Burelle family, with Laurent Burelle currently chairman and CEO.

Plastic Omnium said last fall that it was hoping to divest the business.

The buyer is a consortium of Latour Capital, a French investment firm, and Bpifrance, the state investment bank. A price was not disclosed. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year, pending antitrust approval.

"The group is now an automotive pure player with the planned disposal of our environment division, which should materialize over the second half-year," Plastic Omnium said.

For the first half of 2018, Plastic Omnium saw 3.8 billion euros ($4.4 billion) in sales.

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