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Dura to form joint venture with Minth

BEIJING – Dura Automotive Handels und Beteiligungs GmbH, a subsidiary of Dura Automotive Systems Inc., announced on July 27 that it has agreed to form a joint venture with Minth Group Limited, a Cayman Island investment holding company, to make parts for automakers based in China.
The new venture, with Dura as the majority owner, will operate under the name Dura Minth Automotive Systems Co. Ltd. using Minth’s existing plants in Chongqing for the time being. It will make door frames, body-in-white door modules and door pillar cappings for China’s auto market. The deal is still subject to final business license approvals.
“Establishing a Dura-Minth joint venture in China allows us to expand our customer support in the Asian market for body and trim components,” Dura chief executive Larry Denton said in a statement. “Our customers will benefit from the combination of Minth’s strong capabilities in the manufacture of precision door and trim components, coupled with Dura’s world-class design and advanced manufacturing technology.”
Headquartered in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Dura Automotive Systems, Inc., is a leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of driver control systems, seating control systems, glass systems, engineered assemblies, structural door modules and exterior trim systems for the global auto industry. Its products have been sold to OEMs and leading Tier 1 auto suppliers mainly in North America, Asia and Europe.
Dura Automotive Systems, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in October 2006, and sought to cut costs by moving thousands of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and other low-cost countries. Like other U.S. auto suppliers, the company was pushed into Chapter 11 protection by declining production of domestic auto makers, high prices of raw materials and pricing pressures. However, Dura expects to exit bankruptcy in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Minth Group Limited, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the manufacturing, processing, development and sales of exterior automobile body parts and molds of passenger cars. It designs, manufactures and sells trim, decorative parts and structural body parts for the auto parts industry in China.
“This agreement also provides access to Dura’s established OEM relationships, particularly with European automakers that are manufacturing in China,” said Mu Weizhong, vice president and executive director of Minth Group Limited. “We look forward to working closely with our joint venture partner to enhance our growth opportunities.”

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