Alcoa Sells Wire Harness Business

Deal to sell aluminum producer’s wire harness and electrical distribution business to a private equity firm includes operations in 13 countries that employ about 17,500 workers.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. said Thursday it has agreed to sell its wire harness and electrical distribution business to Platinum Equity, a Los Angeles-based private-equity firm.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

In January, Alcoa said it planned to sell four business units, including its electrical and electronic solutions business, as part of a cost-cutting drive that also entailed shedding 13 percent of its work force. The wire harness and electrical distribution business is the biggest part of that unit. It makes electrical systems for automobiles that connect items such as power windows and radios.

The deal, expected to close by the end of the second quarter, includes operations in 13 countries that employ about 17,500 workers. An Alcoa spokesman did not immediately know how many of the workers were in North America. At the end of 2008, Alcoa employed about 87,000 people in 35 countries.

Alcoa, based in Pittsburgh with executive offices in New York, said it is in discussions with multiple parties about the sale of the remainder of the electrical and electronics business, consisting of the electronics portion of the operation. That business employs about 500 people in Europe.

Alcoa, the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, expects to record a loss related to the sale.

In a separate statement, Platinum Equity said the business' customers include major domestic and international original auto parts manufacturers and suppliers.

"The automotive sector plays well to our strengths," said Phil Norment, a partner at Platinum. "We've spent the last several years working in and around the auto industry and believe strongly in its potential to thrive."

Platinum's companies include Acument Global Technologies, a supplier of fastening systems to the automotive, aerospace, construction, electronics, industrial equipment and non-automotive transportation industries.

Shares of Alcoa rose 27 cents, or 3.1 percent, to close at $9.07 Thursday.

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