Georg Fischer AG is expanding its share of the fluoropolymer pipe and fittings market with an acquisition and a joint venture.
The 50-50 venture is with Kirn, Germany-based pipe maker Simona AG and is based at Simona's plant in Ettenheim, Germany, according to Schaffhausen, Switzerland-based Fischer.
Fluoropolymer pipe is used in clean rooms for production of pharmaceuticals and semiconductors.
Simona also makes sheet, rod, pipe and fittings from polyethylene and polypropylene. It has plants in Kirn, Ringsheim and Ettenheim, Germany; and sales offices in Britain, Italy, France, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Hong Kong.
Fischer, which has owned about 15 percent of Simona since June 2001, makes pipe for industrial applications, gas and water supplies and domestic installations worldwide.
Meanwhile, Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd. unit is buying the fluoropolymer pipe-making operations of Symalit AG of Lenzburg, Switzerland. Fischer currently has exclusive rights to sell Sygef-brand fluoropolymer pipe made by Symalit. That venture was due to end this year.
Now Fischer will transfer Symalit production to the Ettenheim venture, according to a Fischer spokeswoman.
Symalit, part of Zurich, Switzerland-based Quadrant AG, plans to focus on its own fluorpolymer manufacturing business, which includes semi-finished and finished products.
Symalit's fluoropolymer pipe operations have generated annual sales of 10 million to 20 million Swiss francs ($6.6 million to $13 million), according to Quadrant.
The fluoropolymer operations fall within Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products, the former DSM Engineering Plastic Products operations that Quadrant bought in January 2001.
Georg Fischer Piping Systems employs 3,400 worldwide and posted 2001 sales of SFr845 million ($542 million).