Asahi Kasei to buy U.S based Sage Automotive Interiors

This deal seeks to help Asahi Kasei, which makes artificial leather for car interiors, to create a complete supply chain from raw materials to finished products. High-quality automotive textiles are in high demand and Asahi Kasei expects its sales to rise after the acquisition.

The deal will see Asahi Kasei buy the U.S. fund’s entire stake in Sage.

It follows Asahi Kasei’s acquisition of two other U.S. companies, medical device maker Zoll Medical for about JPY 180 billion in 2012, and Polypore International, a manufacturer of separators used in lithium-ion batteries, for around JPY 260 billion in 2015.

Sage processes artificial leather and other materials, fitting them to car interiors such as seats and is the world’s top maker of car seat fabrics, excluding leather and artificial leather. It has a reputation for high quality and good design, and counts German carmakers Daimler and BMW among its clients.

Asahi Kasei holds the top share in both synthetic rubber, used to make fuel-efficient tires, and separators for lithium-ion batteries. The company has positioned itself to take advantage of growth in the auto sector, forecasting 300 billion yen sales from the business in fiscal 2025, triple the figure for fiscal 2015. Asahi Kasei believes the development of autonomous and connected vehicles will enlarge demand for innovative interior car designs.

It opened a research centre in Germany last year to help come up with them. Japanese materials maker Asahi Kasei announced that it will buy U.S.-based Sage Automotive Interiors for USD 1.06 billion (JPY 119 billion), including debt. It will make use of Sage’s contacts with automakers worldwide to expand its automotive products business. It will also use Sage’s facilities to fuel its global expansion.

Asahi Kasei supplies artificial leather to Sage. Talks began in October 2017 between Asahi Kasei and Clearlake Sage Holdings, a unit of U.S. private equity specialist Clearlake Capital Group.