Nissan sells its stake in Wearside car parts firm

Calsonic Kansei sign, Pennywell Ind. Est. Sunderland
Calsonic Kansei sign, Pennywell Ind. Est. Sunderland
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Nissan is to sell off its share in a major Wearside car parts manufacturer.

The car parts firm owns 41 per cent of Calsonic Kansei, which has plants in Sunderland and Washington, as well as manufacturing facilities within the car giant’s Wearside plant and employs around 1,400 people across Wearside.

As a partner to Calsonic Kansei’s management team, we aim to assist the company in achieving its growth ambitions and make available our international network and industry expertise to continue Calsonic Kansei’s success globally.

Hiro Hirano

Nissan’s global board has announced it is to sell its stake to global investment firm KKR, which intends to make an offer for the entire company early next year.

Calsonic Kansei manufactures exhaust and climate systems, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning units at its Washington plant, while the Sunderland factory produces instrument panels and centre console mouldings. The firm also produces components for just-in-time line side delivery within the Nissan factory.

Nissan is the firm’s primary customer, but it also supplies other automotive groups including Renault, Isuzu, Daimler and General Motors.

Nissan chief competitive officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi said: “This agreement was reached because we share common interests and goals.

“Nissan is hoping to further increase the competitiveness of Calsonic Kansei — one of our most important partners — and KKR recognizes the company’s potential.

“This is also the best choice for Calsonic Kansei and its shareholders.”

KKR Japan CEO Hiro Hirano added: “Calsonic Kansei is a best-in-class auto-parts manufacturer that supplies high-quality products to the world’s largest automotive brands.

“As a partner to Calsonic Kansei’s management team, we aim to assist the company in achieving its growth ambitions and make available our international network and industry expertise to continue Calsonic Kansei’s success globally.”

KKR has been investing in Japan through its private equity funds since 2010 and has KKR has completed three acquisitions in the country: Intelligence Ltd, a leading human resources services company; Panasonic Healthcare, the carve-out health care business of Panasonic Corporation; and DJ equipment manufacturer Pioneer DJ.