Ficosa confirms alliance with Panasonic, which will take 49% of the Catalan automotive company
Barcelona-headquartered Ficosa International S.A and Japan-based Panasonic Corporation signed an investment agreement on Tuesday to form a capital and business alliance through a €250 million operation. According to the official press release by Ficosa, as part of the capital alliance, Panasonic will take a 49% stake in the Catalan company. Ficosa is a company that specializes in automobile components, founded in 1949 in Barcelona, where the headquarters remain. It grew at a phenomenal rate and now has around 8,000 employees in 18 countries around the globe, with net sales of €925 million as of December 2013. It is best known for its gear-boxes and rear-view mirrors, of which it produces over 20 million a year. The goal of the alliance will be for both groups to develop projects towards a future self-driving car, while also being mutually advantageous from a business perspective.
Barcelona (CNA).- 30th September 2014 marks a historic deal between Ficosa International S.A and Panasonic Corporation. The two companies of the automotive and entertainment industries signed an investment agreement to enter a capital and business alliance. From the capital side, Panasonic will take a 49% stake of Ficosa, through the purchase of shares and stock. According to industry sources, the operation represents a €250 million deal. This injection of liquidity from the Japanese firm will be a boost to the Catalan company, while Panasonic will in turn benefit from accessing Ficosa’s market to promote its infotainment systems. The forging of a capital, business and technological partnership, the goal of the alliance is for both groups to develop projects for a future self-driving car. Given Ficosa’s fame in the gear-box and rear-view mirror field, of which it produces over 20 million a year, and Panasonic’s dominance in the infotainment industry, they hope to create technologically advanced electronic mirrors, that support comfortable and safe driving.
Ficosa expands once again
Ficosa is a Catalan company founded in 1949 in Barcelona, where its headquarters remain. Today it has around 8,000 employees in 18 countries around the world, with net sales of €925 million as of December last year. Its phenomenal growth has made it the subject of university economics classes (the Pompeu Fabra University released a report about it in 2010). Beginning as a small family-run company that created mechanical cables, it has become a giant in the field of automobile manufacture, best known for its rear-view mirrors, of which it produces over 20 million a year. After dominating the Spanish market, it expanded into the European Union and then across the water, first to the United States, capitalising on its earlier alliance with General Motors, and later in South America, beginning in Brazil. This latest alliance with Japanese giant Panasonic, will allow it to penetrate the Asian market.
Ficosa and Panasonic can share markets and technology
The economic crisis did hit the Spanish automobile industry hard, and some of Ficosa's Catalonia based factories were affected when the company go through staff restructuring processes through temporary layoffs, bringing it under fire from trade unions. This deal with the Japanese firm will provide needed liquidity, while it will also be able to benefit from accessing Asian markets to promote its products.
Working together towards the future self-driving car
The goal of their alliance with Panasonic is for the two companies to combine their markets and technology knowledge towards developing projects for a future self-driving car.
Ficosa is working on technology for cameras in cars to detect and avoid obstacles in the road, and Panasonic has experience in sensor technology. Through combining these two, the companies hope to create joint projects for the future self-driving car.
Projects as soon as March 2015
In addition, the combination of Ficosa's automotive mirror background and Panasoni's infotainment technology, they will work together to launch technologically advanced automotive mirrors for electric vehicles. The two companies also hope to participate jointly in the evolution of the next generation gearbox. Projects foreseen for March 2015 include a self-cleaning car mirror, a device enabling wireless communication from within a car to an outside network and one to facilitate car-to-car communication.