NanoSteel AHSS in validation testing with 10+ automakers for automotive lightweighting
PROVIDENCE, R.I.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–February 13, 2017–
NanoSteel®, the leader in nanostructured steel materials, today announced the closing of a new round of equity investment led by GM Ventures. The financing included new investors Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA), a leading automotive seating systems and electrical systems supplier, and SPDG, a single family office based in Brussels, in addition to the company’s existing major shareholders. Proceeds from the investment round will be used for the commercialization of NanoSteel’s advanced high strength sheet steel (AHSS) for automotive lightweighting applications.
NanoSteel’s AHSS features a unique combination of very high strength with the enhanced formability normally found only in low-strength mild steels. This blend of properties provides designers the ability to optimize part geometries resulting in thinner, lighter components. Additionally, it allows part producers to avoid costly production processes, such as stamping shapes at high temperature (hot stamping), when forming the new designs. The goal of NanoSteel’s products is to assist automakers in building new, affordable, lightweight vehicles to meet rising global fuel economy regulations. Commercial scale qualification of NanoSteel AHSS began in North America in 2016.
Through the transaction, Lear becomes the first automotive Tier 1 supplier to license NanoSteel’s products. “After initial testing of NanoSteel’s AHSS, we are optimistic about its potential to contribute lighter materials for our vehicle seating structures,” said Matthew J. Simoncini, president, CEO and director of Lear Corporation. “Helping our customers meet their fuel economy targets is a clear priority for Lear, and we are enthusiastic supporters of new lighter-weight solutions that would allow us to use our current manufacturing infrastructure.”
Olivier Périer, CEO of SPDG, added, “NanoSteel is a compelling opportunity that targets two of our core investment theses, disruptive mobility solutions and environmental sustainability. We believe NanoSteel is positioned for significant growth.” SPDG is the investment vehicle for the Périer-D’Ieteren family, which co-controls the D’Ieteren Group, together with other family members. The Group’s activities include notably the ownership of both the leading car importer in Belgium and Belron, the global leader in vehicle glass repair and replacement, which operates Safelite in the USA.
NanoSteel’s president and CEO, David Paratore, added, “We are honored by the confidence of Lear and SPDG, both leaders in the automotive industry, and the continued support of our current investors. NanoSteel has reached an inflection point, where our focus has shifted from technology development to product deployment with our steel partners and automotive customers. Our relationships with Fortune 500-level partners have been a major factor in our accomplishments thus far and will be key to our success moving forward.”
NanoSteel is an advanced materials company specializing in the design and commercialization of patented steels with exceptional mechanical properties. Current focus areas are sheet steel for automotive lightweighting applications and metal powders for 3D printing. Founded in 2002, NanoSteel is a privately held company. For more information, visit www.nanosteelco.com or follow us on Twitter @NanoSteelCo.
SPDG is a single family office representing the Périer-D’Ieteren branch. It co-controls the D’Ieteren Group, together with the other D’Ieteren family members. Since 1805, the Group has developed strong brands mainly in the automotive industry: D’Ieteren Auto, the leading importer of Volkswagen brands in Belgium, and Belron, the global leader in vehicle glass repair and replacement. Next to its role as a major shareholder of D’Ieteren, SPDG has developed its investing activities to drive innovation and generate lasting impact in road mobility & smart cities.
About Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA)
Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA) was founded in Detroit in 1917 as American Metal Products. In 2017, the Company will celebrate its 100th year anniversary. Lear is one of the world’s leading suppliers of automotive seating systems and electrical distribution systems (E-Systems). Lear serves every major automaker in the world, and Lear content can be found on more than 400 vehicle nameplates. Lear’s world-class products are designed, engineered and manufactured by a diverse team of approximately 150,000 employees located in 37 countries. Lear currently ranks #154 on the Fortune 500. Lear’s headquarters are in Southfield, Michigan. Further information about Lear is available at http://www.lear.com or follow us on Twitter @LearCorporation.
Robyn Kennedy, 617-694-7373 (cell)