Asahi Tec Outlines Global Structure for Auto Components Operations

Plan includes closing North Carolina plant

March 27 — Asahi Tec Corp., the global automotive parts group formed earlier this year through a $1.2-billion merger with Metaldyne Corp., has outlined a consolidation plan it says is focused on "balancing assets with the changing global market opportunities and the company's expanding Asian businesses." The plan follows the group's recent equity issuance, which it says raised more than $70 million.

Asahi Tec designs and manufactures ductile-iron cast parts for truck and construction machinery, aluminum castings for truck and passenger cars, and aluminum automobile wheels. It also supplies parts for environmental systems, municipal castings, and electrical hardware and equipment used by electricity generators. The Metaldyne subsidiary designs and supplies metal components, assemblies, and modules for powertrain and chassis systems, including engine, transmission/transfer case, wheel-end, and suspension, axle and driveline parts, and noise and vibration control products.

Now, the group is instituting a worldwide organization, including rationalizing corporate functions and some operations, as well as planned retirements at the executive level. Asahi Tec will have several corporate functions with global oversight, including finance, corporate development, legal, human resources, information technology, quality and manufacturing process and corporate communications. The group announced a series of personnel appointments for these functions.

Takao Yoshida, currently CFO of Asahi Tec, will become exec. vice president and CFO of the combined Asahi Tec/Metaldyne companies. "Yoshida will continue to focus on balancing Asahi Tec's assets with the changing global market opportunities and the company's expanding Asian businesses," stated co-chairman and co-CEO Shoichiro Irimajiri. "He will lead a strong team that will continue to move Asahi Tec forward and deliver shareholder value."

Under the new structure the Metaldyne North American Chassis Group will be combined into a single business unit headed by Al Malizia, v.p. and general, Metaldyne North American Chassis Group. Metaldyne plans to close its Greenville, NC, plant and transfer those operations to a plant Greensboro, NC, plant, which has space available to absorb the Greenville work. Greenville manufactures chassis and suspension products and will close by December.

"Metaldyne and Asahi Tec came together to create a new, better capitalized global company that delivers leading edge products and processes to our customers, shareholder value to our investors and opportunity to our employees," stated Tim Leuliette, Asahi Tec co-chairman and co-CEO. "These actions will not only reduce our costs, they will result in more efficient operations and expanded capabilities that will allow us to take advantage of the opportunities offered in this highly competitive global market."

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