Business Strategy and Outlook| Richard Hilgert |
Faurecia announced the acquisition of Hella on Aug. 14, 2021, and closed the deal on Jan. 30, 2022. The firm now owns a 79.5% stake. The combination appears to us to be complementary in product, customer, and geographic areas. With product lines that directly address several key areas of the auto industry (advanced driver assist systems and autonomous driving, electric mobility, and cockpit), leading market shares, and a global presence, Faurecia is well positioned for growth. Yet, prior to the Hella deal, relatively lower profitability, limited reinvestment, higher financial leverage, and substantial exposure to high-cost countries—which inhibits capacity optimization—had constrained management's progress toward the financial performance that attracts investors. A relatively debt-laden balance sheet and a high fixed cost structure can be detrimental to a company that operates in the highly competitive, capital-intensive, cyclical auto-parts industry.