Two bidders have submitted final offers for troubled Turin, Italy-based injection molding machine maker Sandretto Industrie srl. One bid was from an undisclosed Italian businessman, and the other was from Oyonnax, France-based injection press maker Billion SA.
Billion owner Korbinian Kiesl confirmed the bid in an Oct. 2 telephone interview. He declined to go into detail.
The two bids will be evaluated by the Italian government, which has had a special commissar running Sandretto since it went into special administration in 2006. It previously was owned by Taylor's Industrial Services LLC, the parent company of U.S. press manufacturer HPM.
If both offers are considered positively, an auction between the two bidders could determine the final outcome.
``Billion is a family-owned business; if there is a good possibility to get some additional added value to the company, I am open to look at it,'' Kiesl said.
He took control of Billion two years ago in a one-man management buyout from Mannesmann Plastics Machinery GmbH. He had taken over as managing director at Billion in early 2005, after stints at Krauss-Maffei GmbH and extruder maker Berstorff GmbH, both MPM companies.
Billion historically has depended strongly on the French market and ex-French colonies, but in the past two years it has been extending its horizons.
Within MPM, Billion had been restricted as to where it could operate. ``Since independence, we are free to sell where we want,'' Kiesl said.
Plus, the French market has declined significantly during the past three years.
``We have tried to compensate for this with exports,'' Kiesl said.
In 2006, in fact, half Billion's sales were outside France. It recently made its first sales in the United States and in Mexico.
In the financial year just closed, sales were around 33 million euros ($46.7 million).
``Our financial situation is strong,'' Kiesl said. ``We are cash-positive.''
Kiesl continues to emphasize the specialist nature of Billion, which has been a long-time pioneer of multicomponent molding.
Billion will have three coinjection molding machines running at K 2007, scheduled for Oct. 24-31 in Dusseldorf, Germany, plus a plug-and-play injection unit that can fit on all of its machines, allowing them to process an extra material.