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Magna's Cosma unit buys Brazilian auto parts firm

Don Walker, CEO of Magna International Inc.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Magna International Inc. says its Cosma International division has acquired a Brazilian vehicle framework manufacturer that supplies several of the world's largest auto makers.

The Ontario-based auto parts giant said Cosma has closed a deal with ThyssenKrupp Automotive Systems to take over its Brazilian operations – four plants and about 770 employees.

Magna didn't disclose a price paid but said the ThyssenKrupp operation had sales of about $250-million (U.S.) in its fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

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ThyssenKrupp Automotive Systems Industrial do Brasil Ltda. produces and assembles chassis (internal framework) components and modules for several Brazilian automotive customers.

Current production customers include Ford, Fiat, Renault-Nissan, and Honda.

Cosma said the acquisition expands its global footprint and positions it to become a leading metal-forming and chassis supplier in South America.

"The acquisition represents a significant commitment to the South American automotive market and our global OEM customers," said Horst Prelog, president of Cosma International.

Magna already has nine manufacturing plants and two research and development spaces in South America, with about 3,650 employees.

Cosma International manufactures metal body systems, components, assemblies and modules including complete vehicle frames and chassis systems.

It has 47 manufacturing facilities and 25 product development and engineering centres worldwide.

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In November, Cosma said it would acquire BDW technologies group and its four European facilities that supply several auto makers, including Volkswagen.

Magna is seeing its business rebound after a slump during and after the recession, as demand for vehicles picks up. In its most recent quarter vehicle assembly sales increased 28 per cent and volumes were up 55 per cent from 2010.

However, its Cosma division is also under fire from the U.S. Justice Department on an antitrust matter in the auto tooling industry. It is being investigated as part of a broader crackdown into anti-competitive activities in the auto parts industry.

Magna is Canada's largest auto parts manufacturer and one of the largest in the world. It primarily supplies auto makers in North America and Europe.

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