Bosch sells low-tech brakes ops to buyout firm

View of the entrance of German automotive parts manufacturer Robert Bosch Belgian plant in Tienen April 21, 2009. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Robert Bosch GmbH ROBG.UL, the world's largest car parts maker, is to sell what remains of its low-tech brakes business to KPS Capital Partners, a U.S. buyout firm which one source familiar with the deal said paid around 200 million euros.

Bosch, like other global players in the auto parts markets, wants to focus on more profitable high-tech components, leaving production of more mainstream parts to rivals with a lower cost base.

The business sold to KPS makes brake calipers, disk brakes, drum brakes and parking brakes. Bosch’s brake operations will now focus on brake boosters and brake control systems, Bosch said.

Bosch had early last year hoped to sell the low-tech business for at least 500 million euros, sources told Reuters at the time. A person familiar with the transaction told Reuters that KPS agreed to pay 200 million euros ($255.56 million).

KPS, which focuses on restructuring and turnarounds, said it wanted to “create one of the leading manufacturers of foundation brakes, building on our many years of experience investing in the automotive industry.”

The companies, which did not reveal the purchase price, said on Tuesday the business posted 2010 sales of 850 million euros ($1.1 billion) with a staff of 5,200.

The brakes market is dominated by large suppliers such as Continental AG CONG.DE and TRW TRW.N.

Bosch had previously sold the North American part of the foundation brakes unit to Japanese group Akebono Brake Industry 7238.T, which last March called off talks to buy the rest of the business.

($1 = 0.7826 euros)

Reporting by Alexander Huebner and Ludwig Burger; Editing by Philipp Halstrick and Elaine Hardcastle