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Cadence agrees to buy chunk of Collins & Aikman

From Automotive News| March 08,2007

Cadence Innovation LLC has agreed to snap up a major piece of Collins & Aikman Corp.'s plastic-trim business as the troubled interiors supplier is dismantled under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The plastic unit is the largest remaining part of Collins & Aikman being sold. It posted revenue of about $2 billion in 2005. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cadence has agreed to buy nine of the 26 plants in the unit, Collins & Aikman said today. About 3,500 employees work at the nine plants.

Collins & Aikman did not disclose which nine plants are involved in the transaction.

Spokesman David Youngman declined to say whether the company's Hermosillo, Mexico, plant was included in the purchase. The plant is the exclusive supplier of full interiors to Ford Motor Co.'s mid-sized sedan platform, sold as the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ. It generates about $300 million in sales annually to Ford.

In May 2005, Cadence was created by an investment group led by Harbinger Capital Partners, of New York, and Yucaipa Companies LLC, of Los Angeles. The investors bought the former Venture Holdings Co. LLC out of Chapter 11 reorganization.

The Cadence deal is subject to creditor approval and bankruptcy court approval. Until the deal is closed, other companies could buy the business, with Cadence entitled to a cancellation fee if its bid is not accepted. As such, Cadence is deemed the stalking horse for the purchase.

Cerberus Capital Management LP, one of four investment funds said to be pursuing the purchase of the Chrysler group, is the lead bidder to buy Collins & Aikman's soft-trim business. The unit, which makes carpeting and acoustic parts, generated revenue of about $750 million in 2005.

In a story published in Automotive News in February, Cadence CEO Jerry Mosingo said the company was preparing for a growth spurt after a "difficult" 2006.

Cadence, of Troy, Mich., should see sales increase "in the hundreds of millions of dollars" in 2007, up from $650 million last year, Mosingo said.

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