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120 jobs go as new owners try to revive SIEI

01 August, 2003

Ownership of Italy`s largest drives-maker, SIEI, has changed twice in recent months and the company has undergone a radical restructuring, resulting in the workforce being slashed from 300 to 180, and 12 subsidiaries being closed.

Earlier this year, a management team bought SIEI from the Peterlongo family which had owned it since it was founded in 1932. In July, the new owners sold a majority (65%) stake in SIEI to another Italian company, Gefran, whose activities include instrumentation systems, transducers, and the automation of plastics processing plants.

SIEI had been experiencing financial difficulties since 1995 when Klockner Moeller, for which it had been making servo drives, terminated the agreement and set up its own Italian subsidiary by buying part of SIEI and hiring 100 former SIEI employees. This slashed SIEI`s turnover by about 60% and despite attempts to recover, it recorded a loss in 1999.

SIEI subsequently embarked on a rationalisation plan and sold off a fluid power operation to focus on its core activities of inverters, servo drives, and AC and DC motors. It is expected to lose €2.5m this year, but to return to a profit of €0.8m on a turnover of about €30m next year.

Gefran, the new majority shareholder, is investing €910,000 in SIEI, and says it will inject €2m of capital into the company.

SIEI`s previous UK operation has been shut down and its staff made redundant. But the business will probably be taken over by Gefran`s UK subsidiary, Gefran CRL, based in Telford. According to the company, existing SIEI customers will continue to get support from SIEI UK`s technical partners.

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