Car parts firm ZF Friedrichshafen needs U.S. peer TRW's tech know-how - paper

BERLIN, July 19 Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:11am EDT

BERLIN, July 19 (Reuters) - German car parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen believes buying U.S peer TRW Automotive Holdings Corp would give it a better foothold in the market for self-driving and connected cars, its finance chief told a German paper.

Privately-held ZF Friedrichshafen said earlier this month it was in early stage talks with TRW, which makes airbags, electronics, and braking and steering equipment.

CFO Konstantin Sauer said ZF Friedrichshafen was well placed in the areas of powertrains and chassis, but that other areas were growing in importance, highlighting internet-enabled devices and autonomous driving.

"TRW, with its years of market expertise, technology and products would be the perfect complement," Sauer was quoted as saying in an interview with Boersen-Zeitung on Saturday.

Rival German car parts supplier Robert Bosch is also investing heavily in such new technologies.

TRW has a market capitalisation of around $11 billion, so the deal would be a major acquisition for ZF Friedrichshafen, which had revenue of 16.84 billion euros ($22.8 billion) in 2013.

Sauer declined to give details of financing for any deal in the interview saying only: "You can assume that we have thought long and hard about this to find a way that matches our company values."

He declined to comment on a time frame for the talks. ($1 = 0.7391 Euros) (Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Sophie Walker)

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