* JV to start in 2018
* Targets sales in 500 million euro range
* Starts with 1,500 staff in 17 locations worldwide (Adds confirmation from both firms, detail and Continental comment)
BERLIN/MUNICH, Nov 6 (Reuters) - German auto parts supplier Continental and lighting company Osram said they plan to set up a joint venture next year to develop lighting products for the automotive industry.
The 50:50 venture, to be called Osram Continental GmbH, will target sales in 2018 in the 500 million euro ($581 million) range, the two companies said in separate statements on Monday.
People familiar with the talks between Continental and Osram had told Reuters earlier on Monday that the new business was expected to generate annual sales of between 400 million euros and 600 million euros ($464 mln-$695 mln) initially.
Continental, the world's second-biggest supplier to carmakers by sales, is bolstering its expertise in electronics as customers such as Volkswagen and Daimler increase spending on electric and self-driving technologies.
The new venture would operate as an independent company and be fully consolidated in Osram's balance sheet. Neither Continental nor Osram disclosed how much they will each invest in the new company.
They have yet to sign binding contracts on the venture or seek approval from antitrust authorities, Osram said.
The venture will employ 1,500 staff in 17 locations worldwide to combine semiconductor-based lighting modules, advanced electronics, optics and software expertise with access to sensor technology and innovative light sources, Continental said.
"Osram Continental would therefore be able to offer a broad range of end-to-end, innovative lighting solutions, designed especially for headlight and tail light applications," Continental said. ($1 = 0.8613 euros) (Reporting by Andreas Cremer and Irene Preisinger.; Editing by Susan Fenton)