Germany-based Bruckner Maschinenbau GmbH, which makes film stretching machinery, cast film lines and sheet production equipment, has made a major diversification move by purchasing another German company, Kiefel AG, a maker of blown film and thermoforming equipment.
Bruckner of Siegsdorf, Germany, announced the deal Jan. 11, but said it was effective Jan. 1. Terms were not disclosed. Bruckner bought Kiefel from a private investment company called JM GmbH, owned by Jakob Muller and his family.
Kiefel is based in Freilassing, Germany, where it makes thermoforming machines. Kiefel builds blown film lines and winders for packaging in Worms, Germany. The company is known for the Kirion brand of blown film machinery.
Bruckner is best known for making high-end machines, called tenter frames, for biaxially orienting film. The company also makes cast film equipment, and recently got into the exotic business of designing plants for biogas, an alternative to methane and other fuels generated from plants.
Bruckner and Kiefel are similarly sized machinery companies. Bruckner employs about 600 and generates annual sales of about 200 million euros ($260 million). Kiefel has nearly 650 employees and does about 120 million euros ($155 million) in annual sales.
Kiefel's seller, JM, generates 1.5 billion euros ($1.95 billion) from its two main businesses, Renolit AG and RKW AG Rheinische Kunststoffwerke - makers of industrial plastic foils. JM officials said selling Kiefel will allow the company to focus on the foil business worldwide and help Kiefel grow long-term.
Bruckner said it plans to continue to run Kiefel ``in a decentralized manner,'' with its own corporate structure. But the businesses will work together to sell combined products in Asia, Europe and the United States.
Kiefel's blown film business has a U.S. headquarters, Kiefel Inc., in Wrentham, Mass. The thermoforming machinery operation, Kiefel Technologies Inc., is in Hampton, N.H.
Bruckner was founded as an engineering firm in 1961. Its Bruckner Formtec unit includes cast film equipment and sheet lines.