Manufacturing News

China's Ningbo Jifeng plans to boost stake in German supplier Grammer

Ningbo Jifeng Auto Parts wants to increase its stake in German automotive interiors supplier Grammer to more than 25 percent, a source told Reuters.

Grammer has been at the center of a power struggle between Bosnia's Hastor family and Ningbo Jifeng; each holds a 20 percent share of the company.

Ningbo Jifeng wants to increase its stake by buying shares on the open market, the source said. Last week, Ningbo Jifeng said in a regulatory filing that it planned to increase its stake in the next 12 months, without giving details.

Grammer's management has welcomed Ningbo Jifeng, another supplier of vehicle interior components, as a potential white knight in its conflict with Hastor.

Last year, a contract dispute between Volkswagen and two of its suppliers controlled by the Hastor family, CarTrim and ES Automobilguss, briefly halted production at more than half of the carmaker's German assembly plants.

Cascade Investment International, a company controlled by the Hastor family, has accused Grammer's management of market manipulation to help Ningbo Jifeng build a stake.

Grammer has denied the allegation but said the company would see business suffer if the Bosnians increased their influence.

This month, shares in Grammer tumbled after it said it expects orders to fall well short of its annual target because of the power struggle, which discouraged car manufacturers from placing orders.

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