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Delphi center in Lockport is changing ownership

Delphi Automotive’s technical center in Lockport has a new owner.

The Lockport technical center is one of 13 plants in the Americas, Europe and Asia in Delphi’s thermal business that the company has agreed to sell to Mahle, a German maker of automotive components, for $727 million in cash.

It’s not clear what the change in ownership means for the future of the Lockport site, which develops climate-control products for vehicles.

The Upper Mountain Road center remained part of Delphi after General Motors took back the neighboring manufacturing complex, which was also under the Delphi name, in 2009.

The technical center has 180 employees and 86 contract workers, according to Claudia Tapia, a Delphi spokeswoman.

The company made an undisclosed number of layoffs at the plant a year ago, but Tapia said Delphi doesn’t anticipate making further changes at the site prior to its transfer to Mahle later this year.

The transaction announced Thursday expands Mahle’s technology offerings for combustion engines, electric cars and fuel-cell vehicles.

“This step represents an important strategic progression for Mahle,” CEO Heinz Junker said in a statement.

In a separate step, Mahle has agreed to acquire Delphi’s stake in a related joint venture in China.

Closely held Mahle has a workforce of 66,000 employees at 150 production sites worldwide and posted about $11.4 billion in revenue last year.

Delphi, which has its official headquarters in Gillingham, England, and main operating base in Troy, Mich., said the thermal unit, which makes automotive cooling systems, has 6,700 employees and generated $1.6 billion in sales last year. That includes revenue from the Chinese venture.

Mahle develops and manufactures components including piston systems, cylinder parts, valve train, air management and liquid management systems for global automakers. The Delphi transaction complements Mahle’s acquisition of a controlling stake in German automotive supplier Behr GmbH two years ago from the owner’s family.

Delphi and Mahle are targeting completion of the deal in the third quarter.

Delphi said that it will use the proceeds from the sale for “growth initiatives,” including acquisitions and share buybacks.

News wire services contributed to this report. email: swatson@buffnews.com