Automotive supplier files for insolvency / EUR 115m needed / Nearly all plants worldwide at a standstill
A hefty blow for the automotive supplier industry – major player Novares (Paris / France; has succumbed to the coronavirus crisis and filed for insolvency. The company, which has sales of around EUR 1.4 bn and is headed by Pierre Boulet, employs approximately 12,000 people at 45 plants and nine technology centres worldwide. With its majority ownership in the hands of holding company Equistone Partners Europe, the manufacturer of media lines, dashboards and other plastic interior components expanded considerably in recent years. The company is apparently not only sitting on a mountain of debts totalling around EUR 400m but, because of numerous plant closures, is also massively burning capital, Boulet is quoted as saying by French media. Forty of its production centres have since closed.

The commercial court of Nanterre opened the case on 30 April 2020 and set a deadline of mid-May for takeover or participation offers from investors. It was not disclosed whether any offers have already been submitted. Boulet estimates the capital requirements at around EUR 115m. Of this, Equistone and national investment fund Bpifrance (Paris;, which has a 15% interest in Novares, have apparently already promised EUR 45m. During the financial crisis of 2009, the group only survived with the help of Bpifrance and its programme for modernising the car components supply business.

Following the production restart by car makers, Boulet is hoping that Novares’ plants will also be able to go back online, especially in Europe. Its European business accounts for nearly half the total turnover. In North America, the dates for resuming production are being repeatedly postponed. So far, only five factories are operating in China, with the manufactured components having enormous difficulty finding their way to Europe, as Boulet has been quoted as saying in interviews. Many consignments by rail and ship were cancelled in the last few weeks, he said. Capacities were also largely reserved, and the freight rates have apparently tripled since March.

Formerly Mecaplast, Novares has doubled its sales since 2012 to over EUR 1.4 bn. Its expansion course was intended to lift group sales this year to EUR 2 bn. Milestones along this road were the acquisition of competitor Key Plastics (Northville, Michigan / USA; – see of 14.10.2016 – and of Miniature Precision Components (MPC, Walworth, Wisconsin / USA;, as well as the complete takeover of joint venture Wuhan Mecaplast (Wuhan, Hubei / China) that was renamed Noveastern (
14.05.2020 [245116-0]
Published on 14.05.2020
Novares: Automobilzulieferer stellt InsolvenzantragGerman version of this article...

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