BREWER, Maine — Company leaders at Brewer Automotive Components have known for months that its parent firm planned to merge BAC with sister company Wytheville Technologies Inc. in Virginia, but they did not make the announcement official until Friday.
“The newly merged company will be known as Somic America Inc.,” David Keane, vice president of the new automotive component company, said in a statement Friday.
BAC, at 6 Baker Blvd., makes suspension and steering components for a number of automakers with Toyota and Subaru its main customers.
“The company will continue to operate manufacturing facilities in Maine and Virginia, supplying the North American automobile industry, including Toyota and Subaru,” Keane’s statement said.
The Brewer facility opened in 1989 and a sister plant opened in Wytheville, Va., three years later, as a partnership between ZF Group North America, based in Northville, Mich., and Somic Ishikawa Inc. of Hamamatsu, Japan, another leading parts manufacturer.
The two plants combined employ about 195 people.
ZF Group North America is the parent company of Brewer’s ZF Lemforder, which is closing its Brewer plant in mid-2010.
“BAC used to be a joint venture between Lemforder and Ishikawa, and Lemforder is no longer a part of the infrastructure,” said Tanya Pereira, Brewer’s deputy economic development director. “Somic America basically owns the whole thing now. They’re just trying to clean up the ownership and their holdings in North Amer-ica.”
Somic Ishikawa opened Wytheville Technologies Inc. in 2000 to produce rack ends, tie rod ends, u-bolts and other automotive parts, according to its Web site.
“The merger gives the company direct access to machining and plating capabilities and capacities and is designed to make the company more competitive in the difficult automotive industry,” said Keane, who served as a BAC controller before the merger. “WTI has been the second-largest supplier of material and plating services to BAC for several years.”
The merger will not mean any local job losses, Pereira stressed, adding, “If anything, it strengthens things in Brewer for the next few years.”