KKR to buy Japanese automotive components manufacturer Calsonic for $4.5 bn

US private equity firm KKR yesterday struck a deal to buy Japanese automotive components manufacturer Calsonic Kansei Corporation for up to 498.3 billion ($4.5 billion).

KKR is offering to pay 1,860 per Calsonic share, or a 28.3 per cent premium over Calsonic's last closing price, for the 41-per cent stake held by Nissan Motor Co and for the rest of the shares from the market through a tender offer.

The deal is KKR's biggest in Japan after it acquired Panasonic Healthcare from Panasonic Corp in 2013 for $1.67 billion and Pioneer DJ from Pioneer Corp in 2014 for $550 million.

Calsonic is a leading supplier of automotive components including vehicle interiors, climate control systems, compressors, exhaust systems and electronic products. Nissan is its main customer, but it also supplies to other automakers like Renault, Isuzu, Daimler and General Motors.

It has 50 manufacturing sites in US, Poland, South Korea, Mexico, Romania, Thailand, UK, South Africa, India, Spain, China, France and Malaysia.

Calsonic, which specialised in air conditioners and heat exchangers, had merged with gauge maker Kansei in 1999.

Nissan increased its shareholding in Calsonic from 27.6 per cent to 41.7 per cent in 2005.

Yasuhiro Yamauchi, chief competitive officer at Nissan, 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 recognises the company's potential. This is also the best choice for Calsonic Kansei and its shareholders."

Hiro Hirano, member of KKR and CEO of KKR Japan, said, "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."