Aviation Industry Corp. of China completes buy of Auburn Hills-based Henniges Automotive

Thursday, Sep 10, 2015

Aviation Industry Corp. of China completed its purchase of a Michigan-based automotive components maker, a sign the pace of auto industry acquisitions remains strong despite a softening in China’s economy.

Private investment firm Littlejohn & Co. said Wednesday it completed the sale of Henniges Automotive Inc. to the Chinese company. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Henniges, based in Auburn Hills, Mich., is a maker of vehicle sealing and anti-vibration components. It employs 7,000 workers in six countries.

The deal continues a steady pace of acquisitions made by Chinese-based companies looking to expand their presence specifically in the auto parts sector both in and outside the U.S.

Delphi Automotive PLC recently said it was selling its automotive antenna and reception business to Chinese auto-parts supplier Northeast Industries Group Corp.

In March, China National Chemical Corp. announced a $7.7 billion bid to buy Italian tire maker Pirelli & C. SpA.

Littlejohn & Co, based in Greenwich, Conn., put Henniges up for sale last year and entertained interest from a number of possible buyers. The company, which Littlejohn bought in 2010 from Wynnchurch Capital Ltd., had $285 million of debt outstanding as of May 2014, according to debt-ratings firm Moody’s Investors Service.

AVIC has been an active acquirer of U.S. assets in the automotive and aviation industries. It owns a stake in Michigan-based Nexteer Automotive Group Ltd., which develops steering technology.