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STUTTGART (Reuters) - German auto supplier ZF [ZFF.UL] has launched the sale of its Body Control Systems division, Chief Executive Stefan Sommer said, seeking to shed assets it no longer deems essential after its takeover of rival TRW [TRWTA.UL].
"We are at a very early stage," Sommer told journalists at the Stuttgart Economic Press Club in remarks embargoed for Wednesday. "We have just started exploratory talks."
The Body Control Systems unit makes electronic parts for the vehicle command and control such as switches, heating and air conditioning controls and displays, integrated electronic center panels and modular steering column controls.
Sommer declined to say what price ZF was hoping to fetch, but when asked whether $1 billion was a reasonable figure he replied: "That would not be a complete shot in the dark."
The unit has annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of about $120 million.
ZF has asked Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) to find a buyer for the business, people familiar with the deal said.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
ZF acquired U.S.-based TRW in 2015 for $12.4 billion, financing the takeover mainly with debt, and has since divested smaller units such as its Engineered Fasteners and Components.
Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Ruth Pitchford