Auto Service World
News   May 10, 2004   by Auto Service World

Magna On Acquisition Trail, says CFO

Cash rich Magna International, which is sitting on $1.9 billion U.S. in cash, said Friday that it sees opportunities to make acquisitions this year, but may wait for valuations to drop.
The world’s seventh largest auto parts supplier, Magna, said it may also use some of its cash on hand to redeem its preferred securities and buy back stock, said a Reuters report.
“When I look generally at the market, I would say in the last three to four months, the level of opportunities have increased substantially,” Vince Galifi, Magna’s chief financial officer, said on a conference call. “Valuations in a lot of cases are still, from my perspective, too high.
“But if the economy does in fact pop a bit, there may be some opportunities out there where we make some fairly decent acquisitions.”
Galifi said an acquisition may not entail buying a company outright but could also mean taking over contracts.
“Things could change quite a bit,” he said. “Valuations I believe are going to start to become a little more reasonable but they’re still quite high.”
Magna, which generates much of its revenues from the Big 3 U.S. automakers, plans to make a concerted push into Eastern Europe and Asia, where Japanese carmakers account for only about 4 percent of sales.
At its annual meeting Thursday, Magna executive vice-chairman Siegfried Wolf said its drive into the Asian market could include joint ventures or an acquisition of a Japanese supplier. Wolf said Magna is also taking a “cautious and opportunistic” approach to China.
Galifi said Magna remains in talks over DaimlerChrysler’s New Venture Gear powertrain business, with a view to taking a controlling stake in the unit.
Magna reported forecast-topping first quarter profits on Thursday and a 46-percent jump in revenues thanks to an increase in higher content per vehicle levels in North America and Europe.
The auto-parts supplier said profits rose 14 percent to $184 million, or $1.84 a share, up from $161 million, or $1.64 a share, in the prior-year period. All values in U.S. dollars.
The company raised both its sales target for the year and its forecast for the value of Magna parts in vehicles.
That beat analysts’ forecasts for profit of $1.74 a share, according to Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group.

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