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Hella to exit auto parts JV with Mahle Group

German auto-parts maker Hella GmbH & Co. KGaA has agreed to sell the company's 50% ownership in Behr Hella Service thermal management business to its joint venture partner Mahle GmbH, according to separate company announcements dated Aug. 9.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Behr Hella Service, which was established in 2005, offers cooling and air-conditioning products for vehicles.

The transfer of Behr Hella Service, effective Dec. 31, 2019, subject to antitrust approval, is part of Hella's move to restructure its aftermarket business to be "more consistently" aligned with its original equipment capabilities, particularly in lighting and electronics. Hella also aims to closely link its aftermarket operations to the auto parts manufacturer's workshop equipment expertise.

The company, headquartered in Lippstadt, Germany, added that it will integrate its diagnostics and calibration services under Hella's repair solutions business.

In line with its planned restructuring, Hella on Aug. 1 also established a mobility solutions unit in a bid to tap into new digital business models.

"With our restructuring of the aftermarket business and the provision of innovative solutions, we want to expand our position as strong partner for wholesalers and workshops while laying the foundation for further profitable growth," said Werner Benade, managing director of Hella's aftermarket division.

The news follows Hella's decision to sell its Danish unit, FTZ Autodele & Verktoj A/S, and Polish unit, Inter-Team sp. z o.o., to Swedish car parts wholesaler Mekonomen AB for €395 million.

Meanwhile, Mahle said that it will manage the spare parts business for thermal management products independently, beginning Jan. 1, 2020, upon completion of the acquisition and following a transitional period.

The Stuttgart, Germany-based auto parts supplier added that it will expand its distribution of thermal management products in the aftermarket outside Europe after it takes full control of Behr Hella Service.

"With this planned acquisition, we are complementing our aftermarket product range by a business field of great long-term importance," Olaf Henning, Mahle's head of aftermarket business, said in the company's announcement.