FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German car parts maker Continental <CONG.DE> is considering acquiring software makers after the flotation of its Powertrain unit expected in the second half of 2019, its Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Schaefer told Boersen-Zeitung.
"We are currently in a position to pay up to 5 billion euros ($5.69 billion) for one or more companies", he was quoted as saying in the German newspaper's Saturday edition.
"We want to expand our expertise in software. Today, already more than 60 percent of our automotive products are digitized or equipped with sensors", he said, adding that one third of its 47,000 engineers already have a software or IT background.
Proceeds from the planned Powertrain stock market listing, which is being carved out by year-end, would help Continental finance acquisitions.
Continental last month asked Bank of America <BAC.N>, JP Morgan <JPM.N> and Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> to help it organise the flotation, which is expected to be one of the largest 2019 IPOs in Germany, people close to the matter have said.
"We are well on track to have the Powertrain unit IPO-ready from mid-2019, as announced", Schaefer said.
"An expected stronger growth in global vehicle production in the second half 2019 should offer suitable conditions for an IPO", Schaefer said, adding that if equity capital market conditions were not attractive then the IPO would be postponed.
Schaefer added that after two profit warnings in 2018, the company was on track to meet its full year targets.
"The fourth quarter is in line with expectations."
(Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Alexander Smith)