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Chinese company buys Brook Crompton’s parent, ATB, for €100m

21 October, 2011

A Chinese company, Wolong Holdings, is buying almost 98% of the Austrian motor manufacturer ATB for €100.5m after ATB’s parent, A-Tec Industries, got into financial difficulties. ATB has more than 3,000 employees in five European countries, including around 700 in the UK, where it owns Brook Crompton, Laurence Scott and Morley. It also owns Schorch in Germany.

Privately owned Wolong – which produces inverters, transformers, batteries and electric scooters, as well as motors – says it plans to keep ATB’s European manufacturing sites, and has no tradition of cutting staff numbers. It wants to set up a European research and development centre to accelerate product development and to co-ordinate development activities between China and Europe.

ATB’s chief executive Christian Schmidt is staying in his post and says that he hopes to boost turnover from €340m this year to around €600m by 2015, as well as doubling EBITDA.

ATB’s parent, A-Tec, became insolvent after another subsidiary, Austria Energy & Environment, which produces power generation and environmental technologies, was forced into bankruptcy. A-Tec attempted to restructure itself and to find investors, without success. Takeover talks involving Austrian and Czech organisations also failed, leading to the break-up of A-Tec.

The ATB purchase represents Wolong’s first acquisition outside China, and is the largest Chinese acquisition of an Austrian business to date. Wolong, founded in 1984, employs more than 6,000 people and has a turnover of around $1.57bn. It has a portfolio of more than 3,000 different products. It has strategic co-operation agreements with companies including Emerson and Panasonic, and says its aim is to become an “Eastern Siemens".




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