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Nidec kicks off German 'shopping spree' with Graessner

03 September, 2018

The acquisitive Japanese motor-maker Nidec has bought the privately-owned German precision gear-maker MS-Graessner for an undisclosed sum. According to the Japanese news agency Nikkei, this the first of five acquisitions of German automation and robotics companies that Nidec is planning to make before March 2019, with a combined value of around 50 billion yen ($450m).

MS-Graessner, which specialises in right-angle bevel gearboxes – particularly, hypoid reducers – was founded in 1955 and has its headquarters in Baden-Württemberg. Last year, it recorded an operating profit of €2.1m on revenues of €21.8m. It employs more than 160 people.

Nidec is buying Graessner via its Nidec-Shimpo subsidiary, which produces precision planetary reducers and has a particular strength in linear reducers with aligned input and output shafts. The acquisition will allow Nidec-Shimpo to offer a wider range of precision linear and angular gearboxes and to expand its sales in Europe. At present, Nidec-Shimpo’s sales are mainly in Japan, China and the Americas.

Nidec-Shimpo also plans to manufacture newly-developed strainwave gearboxes for robotic applications in Graessner’s German factory, and to offer its products and services to Graessner’s customers in the robotics industry and elsewhere. The deal also gives Graessner access to Nidec-Shimpo’s sales network in Asia and the America, as well its manufacturing facilities in Asia.

Graessner's portfolio of precision gearboxes includes its TorusGear planar spiral gearbox

According to Nikkei, Nidec has also agreed in principle to acquire four more German companies that make parts for machine tools and robots. Each deal will be worth up to 20 billion yen ($180m) and will be concluded in the coming months. Nikkei says that Nidec plans to use these companies’ facilities to produce parts for robots with the aim of expanding its sales to European robot-makers such as ABB.

Since it was founded in 1973, Nidec has bought more than 60 otehr companies. Its recent acquisitions in Europe have included the UK drives-maker Control Techniques, the French motor manufacturer Leroy-Somer, the German compressor manufacturer Secop, and the Italian pump and motor producer LGB Elettropompe. It has also set up a joint venture with Europe’s second-largest automotive manufacturer, Groupe PSA, to design, develop, manufacture and sell electric traction motors.

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