By Amye Anderson
UCBJ Managing Editor
SPARTA – It’s a new year and a new name but business as usual at the Rebo Lighting and Electronics plant, formerly Federal-Mogul, located in Sparta.
The transaction for the Federal-Mogul Powertrain division to sell the Sparta lighting manufacturing outfit was quietly finalized in early December and particulars of the deal, such as the price tag, aren’t being disclosed publicly. The deal also included a technical center located in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“It’s business as usual,” Gary Hall, human resources manager, told the UCBJ. “The goal of our new owners was to not affect the employees – to disrupt the employees’ way of life as little as possible. So far, that’s been the case.”
“Certainly, there’s a lot of work that goes on with these types of transactions,” he added. “There’s not been any adverse effect to the employee base at all.”
In all, approximately 120 employees were involved in the transfer of the business, between the affected Michigan and Sparta Federal-Mogul sites.
Rebo Lighting’s owners, Chongqing-Boao Industrial Company, LTD, is a Chinese producer of lighting and electronic products for the automotive sector. Worldwide, they have approximately 6,000 employees and produced roughly $1 billion in sales last year, Hall says.
“Lighting was not a core group for Federal-Mogul,” Hall said of the company, who manufactures a variety of automotive parts. “That’s part of the reason for the sale. We’ve become part of a company where lighting is the core group. We’re pretty excited about that.”
The Sparta location manufactures lighting components which includes interior and exterior lighting for vehicles.
“We do business a lot as a Tier 2 supplier,” Hall explained. “We do Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplying to the automotive base. Our customers are the Big Three: Ford, Chrysler, and GM.”
Hall adds the group also does a lot of business with Honda and Toyota.
“We’re excited about future opportunities here with the Boao group,” he said. “They are a good fit for us and we’re optimistic that there are going to be growth opportunities for us.
“They actually came in and spent a week here at the facility and got to know our employees and start building relationships,” Hall added. “They left a very good first impression from the main leadership team.”
Hall says the deal has been in the works for “a period of time.”
Other existing Federal-Mogul locations, Hall says, such as the one located in Smithville, were not affected by the transaction.