Eaton sells switches

Eaton Corporation has reached an agreement to sell its automotive vehicle switch/electronics division (VS/ED) to Delphi Automotive Systems for $300 million.

The cash transaction is expected to be completed following customary regulatory reviews. Eaton said the proceeds would be used to reduce short-term debt.

VS/ED, which is headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois, has approximately 3,850 employees at eight primary facilities in North America, South America and Europe. In 2000, sales were $320 million.

The division manufactures a wide range of electro-mechanical and mechatronic controls, including column switches, control modules for windows, doors, electronic controllers, instrument panel and console switches, lighting centres, transmission switches, and security, under-the-hood and door jamb switches.

Eaton, which had Automotive Segment sales in 2000 of $1.8 billion, had indicated last August that it intended to sell VS/ED because the business no longer fit the company’s longer-term strategic objectives. The company noted that the vehicle interior segment is consolidating rapidly in response to an industry-wide move toward integrated cockpit systems solutions, and that Eaton was not in a position to lead the consolidation.

Earlier this month, Eaton announced it had completed the purchase of Sumitomo Heavy Industries’ 50 percent interest in the two companies’ Japanese fluid power joint venture, for an undisclosed amount.