Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is considering the sale of Comau, its automation and robotics systems subsidiary. No final decision has been made, according to various reports, but the automaker’s proposition is that a sale of the unit during 2019 could fetch $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion.
No potential buyers have been floated by the reports, which cite FCA sources, though Chinese investors are considered likely.
Strategically, the decision would allow the group to concentrate more resources on its developing and manufacturing passenger and commercial vehicles. Similarly, last month, FCA sold its Magneti Marelli auto-parts subsidiary to private equity group KKR & Co. for $6 billion.
Automakers are struggling to earn revenues from their core businesses as car sales lag, and face further problems with the advent of trade barriers, as well as the rising cost of environmental compliance.
Comau robots and automation systems are supplied to automotive powertrain and assembly operations, machining operations, and fabricating and assembly plants. Products include systems for 3D laser cutting, palletizing and transfer systems, as well as part machining, testing, and automated (or semi-automated) assembly. Other systems are supplied to power and energy businesses, rail, and heavy industrial operations.
Comau has 15 manufacturing plants and five development centers worldwide.