COMPANY NEWS Wirth acquired by Norwegians Jun 2009
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
- From June 30, Wirth Maschinen- und Bohrgeräte-Fabrik GmbH will be known as Aker Wirth GmbH. This follows acquisition of the company by Aker Solutions of Norway earlier this year. In explaining the change, President and CEO Christoph Kleuters and Hans Greve, Executive Vice President Mining & Construction of Wirth said that for more than two decades, the two companies had been collaborating successfully and that by formalising the connection, the goal is to strengthen that collaboration and expand it to all of Aker Solutions' drilling activities globally. They confirmed that during a takeover process "many things change" but that the company's "values, strategy and commitment to its customers remain the same".
Investment planned to increase workshop capacity
Wirth GmbH is now a fully controlled subsidiary of Aker Solutions of Norway. By increasing its shareholding to a majority 75.1% with the remainder being transferred over the coming years, the giant Norwegian drilling equipment producer and technology provider takes control of the German mining, drilling, excavation, and tunnel equipment manufacturer. The initial 50% shareholding purchase of August 2007 came with an option to buy the remaining stocks. Agreement in late January 2009 to acquire the remaining shares cleared anti-trust reviews in early March, passing full control of Wirth to Aker Solutions.
- The relationship of nearly two decades between the two companies has proven successful with Wirth's technology complementing Aker Solutions' portfolio of drilling equipment products and technology and the drilling rig market providing significant business opportunities for Aker Solutions.
- Consolidation with a strong partner strengthens the position of Wirth in the international marketplace. Wirth CEO Christoph Kleuters said: "Aker has proven a strong and reliable partner in this business relationship. In the current economic crisis, such a partner is more important than ever." Although the long-term affects of the financial and economic crises cannot yet be estimated, it also involves chances. ''Worldwide, hundreds of billions will be invested in infrastructure," said Kleuters. "Our products in the fields of infrastructure, mining and civil engineering are really predestined to support the multitude of construction projects with our equipment."
- From headquarters in Erkelenz, Germany, Wirth currently employs 500 people and has subsidiaries and joint ventures in the US, China, Italy and Ukraine. With record turnover and profits for 2008 of more than €200m and €20m respectively, and a new powerful Norwegian main shareholder, Wirth looks optimistically into the future. In addition to €10m invested in the Erkelenz site over the past two years, a further €23m is planned to 2011 to increase assembly and machining shop capacity, recruit 40 more staff in 2009, and increase the training quota for industrial jobs by 25%.
- In 1999 Wirth acquired Paurat, makers of heavy duty roadheaders. In 2001 it bought microtunnelling manufacturer Soltau. In September 2007, it sold its controlling share in its NFM soft-ground TBM division, 70% to China's state-corporation NHI, Northern Heavy Industry Group and 30% to Niko Kleuters, previously a senior executive and co-owner of Wirth.
- Per Harald Kongelf, Executive Vice President of Aker Solutions said: "100% ownership of Wirth enables us to accelerate and further strengthen our ability to realise the synergies between the companies, enabling us to optimise our products and services to customers. This acquisition gives us greater flexibility to execute our growth strategy for the drilling equipment market."
- Aker Solutions is part of the larger Aker ASA conglomerate and is formerly Aker Kvaerner, the result of Aker's significant shareholding acquisition in the Norwegian Kvaerner industrial group in 2000 and as part of a comprehensive rescue needed when acquisition of the UK's Trafalgar House group in the late 1990s proved financially unsustainable. Aker Kvaerner changed its name to Aker Solutions in April 2008.
- Aker can trace its history back to 1841 and today has a total of 26,500 employees on five continents and had 2008 operating revenues totalling NOK 65 billion. Its Aker Solutions division has aggregated annual revenues of approximately NOK 58 billion and employs approximately 23,000 people in about 30 countries.
- Download a statement pdf
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