Japanese materials supplier Asahi Kasei is considering increasing the European presence of Sage Automotive Interiors Inc., a business it is currently in the process of acquiring.
Earlier in July, the two companies announced the $1.1bn (€940,000) deal, which will help Asahi Kasei achieve its long-term target of tripling its automotive business.
The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.
In a Q&A session on the deal, Asahi Kasei officials confirmed plans to further develop Sage’s footprint globally.
“We will consider adding more bases in Europe, where many automakers are spread across a wide area. We also see potential in Asia and expect good synergies in relationship with Japanese automakers,” explained Yutaka Shibata, CFO.
However, North America will be the largest growth area, driven by the introduction of new brands, increased sales of luxury products, and a focus on not only seats but also headliners, he said.
Moving forward, headliners will continue to be an important area of growth for Sage, while expansion in Europe will leverage the bases of Miko and Apollo, and further acquisitions will be pursued.
Sage acquired Italian company Miko, which processes and dyes Lamous microfiber suede, which it purchases from Asahi Kasei. The following year, Sage acquired another Italian company, Apollo, which processes and sews fabric.
Asahi Kasei sees Aunde, Adient, and Lear as its overseas competitors, while at home, Japanese competitors include Seiren, TB Kawashima, and Suminoe Textile for the business.
The Japanese materials supplier is already a Tier 3 materials supplier to Sage Automotive. In documents explaining its acquisition, Asahi Kasei has said that it would "leverage" in combination with various Asahi Kasei products and technologies "such as fibres, plastics and sensors."
Sage Automotive sales in 2017 were $475m (€406m), up from $416m (€355m) in 2016, according to Asahi Kasei.
The Tier 2 supplier is a specialist in high-performance automotive interior fabrics, such as synthetic microfiber suede, made primarily from recycled polyester fibre. Its end customers include the Jaguar F-type, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT and the Mercedes-Benz CLA AMG, the company said.
In March 2016, Asahi Kasei established Asahi Kasei Europe GmbH in the German city of Dusseldorf as a base for the further expansion of business in Europe. The company announced at the time that the focus of the European base would be on automotive applications.