M+W sells automation biz to ATS for $350m

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

M+W sells automation biz to ATS for $350m
M+W says a lack of synergies with its engineering and construction business drove the decision to sell its automation divison to ATS for €255m ($348m).

The Canada-headquartered firm Automation Tooling Systems (ATS) announced today it was buying M+W’s Process Automation and ProFocus businesses - which contributed approximately €170m to the firm’s overall revenue of €2.6bn in 2013 – and expects the acquisition to go through by the end of September.

Whilst the majority of revenue in the division comes from the automotive industry, 26% of sales come from the chemicals industry and a further 13% from pharma and biotech. According to spokesman Michael Gemeinhardt, the decision to sell was to allow M+W to focus on its high-tech engineering and construction of infrastructure businesses.

He told in-Pharmatechnologist.com the “the automation business – focusing on software development for the control and visualization of critical production processes – has little synergies with our core business,”​ and therefore the German firm decided to divest.

Teh acquisition include a workforce of 1,000 - including approximately 750 engineers - with 51 locations situated in 16 countries. ATS said in a statement it intends to “enhance its portfolio, serve existing M+W and ATS customers and build new customer relationships.”

As for existing customers, Gemeinhardt told us “current projects will of course be executed,”​ adding a “contract is a contract.”

Pharma Automation

Automation processes such as production management software and analytics software help consolidate manufacturing operations and standardise applications across a business, and thus can help pharma companies cut the time to commercialisation and lower costs.

According to the Measurement, Control & Automation Association’s (MCAA) quarterly Industry Group Report (IGR) survey​ released last month, bookings received by member firms are growing at an annual rate of 8%.

However, the bookings received from pharma firms rose by 35.4% over the past quarter, the survey reported, making the sector the greatest significance to MCAA member firms.

A 2012 report by the ARC Advisory Group​ added pharma and biotech firms will continue to up their expenditure on automation hrough to 2016, due to the “adapt or die”​ environment amongst drugmakers. 

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