Private equity firm Blackstone has acquired JM Financial’s stake in automotive drivetrain solutions provider Sona BLW Precision Forging. Blackstone has also infused primary capital into Sona which will merge itself with Blackstone-owned Comstar Automotive Technologies to create a new entity Sona Comstar. Sunjay Kapur led Sona Group owned 67% of Sona BLW Precision Forging, while the remaining 33% stake was held by JM Financial.
Sona BLW designs and manufactures precision forged bevel gears and differential assemblies for passenger, commercial and off-highway vehicles with a strong presence in electrical vehicles. It has a consolidated turnover of Rs 2,700 crore. Sona BLW has six manufacturing plants spread across north and west India, and its European subsidiary operates four plants —three in Germany and one in Hungary.
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Comstar designs, engineers and manufactures starting and charging systems for passenger and light commercial vehicles across the globe. The firm was acquired by Blackstone in 2018. Sunjay Kapur will be the chairman of the new combined entity Sona Comstar and any other businesses that will be acquired or developed under this platform. The new platform will allow Sona to expand its geographical footprint to China, US, Mexico and South India, while Comstar will get access to north and west India and European markets.
“We will now offer our customers integrated technology products and solutions for Hybrid, EV as well as conventional powertrains,” Kapur said. “Sona and Comstar have almost no overlap in customers, enabling both companies to benefit from being able to offer their products to each other’s customers. The combined entity serves most major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and off highway vehicles in USA, Europe, India and China,” said a statement issued by the firms.
Amit Dixit, senior managing director and head of Blackstone India Private Equity, believes the Indian automotive components space is attractive, both with India as a manufacturing hub for exports and as a domestic market. “Sona has exceptional engineering capabilities, deep customer relationships, and a strong management team that has helped sustain its leadership position. The combination of Sona and Comstar is highly synergistic. There are opportunities to add on to this buy-and-build platform in this fragmented sector, especially in the current environment,” he said.