Two of Germany's industrial powerhouses, Siemens AG and Robert Bosch GmbH, will spend $9 billion to gobble up Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG — the world's largest plastics machinery maker — as part of the deal to buy Mannesmann AG's engineering and automotive businesses. What happens next? Siemens and Bosch have pledged to retain the current Atecs businesses, and management structures, for at least the next three years, Siemens Chairman Heinrich von Pierer told the German newspaper, Borsen-Zeitung. He said the new owners plan to run Atecs as a joint venture and expand it in "all areas."
Other than that, officials of all three companies weren't revealing many specifics after the blockbuster deal to sell the company, named Atecs Mannesmann, was announced April 18 in Germany.
In plastics circles, MPM's $1.1 billion in 1999 machinery sales makes it a giant player. But MPM is just a small part of Atecs, which generated about $11 billion in 1999 sales (12 billion euros).
MPM owns six plastics machinery companies: Van Dorn Demag, Demag Ergotech, Krauss-Maffei, Netstal, Billion and Berstorff. Injection molding machines account for about 80 percent of sales at MPM, with the rest coming from extrusion and polyurethane processing machines. The overall Atecs business also includes Rexroth hydraulic and pneumatic components, well-known in the plastics machinery world.
MPM Chairman Wolfgang Vogl was not available for comment. He was traveling last week, a company spokeswoman said.
The sale to Siemens and Bosch ends a saga that pitted huge German conglomerates against each other, and included the largest-ever hostile takeover attempt of a German company.
Originally, Mannesmann wanted to spin off Atecs into a separate public company. Plans to do an initial public offering for Atecs continued this year, even after Vodafone AirTouch plc, the British telecommunications giant, launched a takeover drive for the Dusseldorf, Germany-based Mannesmann. Mannesmann ended up agreeing to be acquired.
Then in late March, Thyssen Krupp AG — another German industrial giant — entered the fray by offering to pay about $7.25 billion for Atecs. The news set plastics machinery executives' tongues wagging, since Thyssen Krupp already owns compounding extruder maker Krupp Werner & Pfleiderer GmbH and blow molding machinery supplier Krupp Kunststofftechnik GmbH.
Now, just a few weeks later — and a mere two months before the big NPE 2000 show in Chicago — machinery gurus are pondering the possibilities of six plastics equipment companies now being owned by Munich, Germany-based Siemens, a world leader in machine controllers, and Bosch.
Products made by Bosch, based in Stuttgart, Germany, include valves and hydraulic systems for machinery, packaging machinery and automation products, including conveyors.
One glimpse of future integration was announced right away — Bosch said it will funnel its automation businesses into Rexroth, the corresponding unit at Atecs.
Siemens said it will merge its Automotive Systems Group with Atecs' VDO business, which also makes products for cars. Plastics is not believed to be a major part of the automotive operations.