BMW AG bought a 15.16 percent stake in German producer of carbon and graphite products SGL Carbon SE.
With the acquisition, BMW aims to strengthen its focus on lightweight construction and the use of carbon fibre reinforced plastics or CFRP in automobile manufacture.
BMW didn’t disclose the financial details of the transaction and said that it’s not seeking a seat on SGL’s supervisory board.
BMW is a second German automaker in nine months to invest in the world’s largest maker of carbon and graphite products, strategic materials for the car industry. Volkswagen AG announced it bought an 8.2 percent stake in SGL in March.
The BMW Group and the SGL Group already operate a joint venture. The SGL Group holds 51% and the BMW Group 49 % of shares in the joint company, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers.
The two partners have built a new state-of-the-art carbon fibre manufacturing plant together in Moses Lake in Washington State in the U.S. The new plant plays an important part in the two companies’ strategy to automate the production of ultra-light carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs) for use in future vehicle concepts.
The carbon fibres produced in Moses Lake are being processed at facilities in Wackersdorf and Landshut. Wackersdorf delivers textile fabrics made from carbon fibres, which are then being processed at the BMW plant in Landshut to make lightweight CFRP body components for the BMW i3 and BMW i8. Both vehicles will be assembled at the BMW plant in Leipzig.
The BMW i3, the BMW Group’s first series-produced electric vehicle, will be released on the market in 2013, followed by the BMW i8 sports car shortly afterwards.