9/25/2014

Panasonic May Buy Stake in Ficosa International

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Panasonic Corp. may buy as much as 50% of Ficosa International SA, the Barcelona-based auto supplier, in a bid to develop technology for self-driving cars, The Nikkei reports.

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Panasonic Corp. may buy as much as 50% of Ficosa International SA, the Barcelona-based auto supplier, in a bid to develop technology for self-driving cars, The Nikkei reports.

The newspaper says the goal is to marry Panasonic's automotive sensor technology with Ficosa's image recognition and navigation systems.

Ficosa employs some 8,700 people in 20 countries to make a broad range of automotive components, including electronic driver assist systems, electric vehicle powertrain controls and self-dimming rearview mirrors.

Panasonic will invest as much as 30 billion yen (€215 million) for the stake by March 2015, according to the newspaper. It says the companies expect by the end of December to finalize details, including the price, of a deal that eventually could make Ficosa a subsidiary of the Japanese company.

Panasonic has said it wants to expand significantly in the auto sector. The Ficosa investment would be its first big step to implement that strategy. The company hopes to grow its auto-related revenue 50% to 2 trillion yen (€14 billion) by the fiscal year ending March 2019, according to The Nikkei.