Manufacturing News

Ningbo Joyson's Key Safety Systems plans bid for embattled airbag maker Takata, report says

Airbag maker Key Safety Systems, which was acquired by Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp. this year, plans to bid for Japan's Takata Corp., according to a person familiar with the matter.

Key Safety Systems has received an invitation from Takata and will review the Japanese company's business operations to prepare for the bid, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.

Takata is working on a restructuring plan and is said to be open to a sale to a private equity partner, a parts supplier or a combination. As many as 15 deaths, including 10 in the U.S., have been linked to defective Takata airbag inflators that rupture and spray plastic and metal shards at drivers and passengers. Ruptures also have resulted in more than 100 serious injuries, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Takata is not in a position to comment as it has appointed an external committee to handle the restructuring plan, Takata spokeswoman Akiko Watanabe said. Ningbo Joyson spokesman Chen Yang declined to comment.

Key Safety Systems supplies parts to BMW AG, Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co., Hyundai Motor Co. and Chinese automakers such as SAIC Motor Corp. and Great Wall Motor Co., according to Joyson's annual report.

The company is planning to boost inflator production by more than 30 million units to about 100 million units by 2020, as it wins new customers, according to the company. It's adding production lines at its plants in the U.S., China, Mexico and Europe as it forecasts revenue to expand by 50 percent by 2020.

Buyout firms including Bain Capital, PAG Asia Capital and KKR & Co. were said to have expressed interest in Takata. The airbag company and its adviser, Lazard, don't plan to contact ZF-TRW and Autoliv Inc. because a deal may be difficult to pass due to antitrust concerns, Bloomberg reported this month.

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