Autoliv Inc., the worldwide leader in automotive safety acquired 49.5 percent of Estonian car seat belt producer Norma on Oct. 19. Autoliv purchased the shares from Norma Group, which still retains 1.5 percent. the terms of the transaction are secret.
Autoliv has the right to acquire the additional 1.5% of Norma shares before Jan. 1, 2002.
Norma shareholders also replaced three members of the five-member supervisory council and two of the five-member board with Autoliv’s representatives. Autoliv’s vice president, Jorgen Svensson, was chosen chairman of the council and Norma’s Peep Siimon as head of the board.
The negotiations on the purchase of Norma’s shares started in mid summer. Norma, a dominant seat belt supplier to the Russian vehicle industry, has been one of Autoliv’s licensees and is currently a component supplier to Autoliv.
This transaction enables Norma to increase its volume of exports and to the West and offers Autoliv an opportunity to expand its seat belt business in Eastern Europe.
Autoliv as the industry’s technology leader can contribute by offering Norma’s customers new safety technologies Norma is lacking, said Lars Westerberg, Autoliv’s president and CEO.
“Together with Norma’s management, we will explore how we can further develop Norma by transfering production and technologies to Estonia,” he said.
In 1998 Norma had sales of 483 million kroons ($30 million) and slightly more than 1,000 employees to Autoliv’s $3.5 billion in sales and 21, 000 employees.
Autoliv’s management said that Norma’s shares, which fell by 16 percent last week, will stay on the Tallinn Stock Exchange.
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