Interroll Aquires Axmann for Strategic Expansion of Subsystems Business Within Automation Group |

Interroll Aquires Axmann for Strategic Expansion of Subsystems Business Within Automation Group

SANT’ANTONINO – (December 16, 2002) — The Interroll Group, a worldwide manufacturer of components and subsystems for materials handling and logistics systems, has announced that it will be acquiring Axmann Fördertechnik GmbH in Sinsheim, Germany, and Axmann Conveying Systems, Inc. in Jeffersonville, Indiana/USA, effective from January 1, 2003. The transaction is to be considered within the context of Interroll's efforts to expand its subsystems segment.

Bolstering its position with innovative niche products
Supported by their innovative product range and solid expertise, the two Axmann companies will considerably strengthen Interroll's market position within the area of modules and subsystems designed for the internal handling of packaged, i.e. non-bulk, goods. Boasting a range of pioneering niche products, Axmann is regarded as one of the world's leading suppliers within its field. Its product range includes curved units for conveyor belts, sorters for rapid sorting and distribution, conveyor modules for plastics manufacturing and cleaning technology, as well as other conveyor modules. A number of Axmann products are protected by patents worldwide.

Geared to activities within a growth market
Axmann is to be integrated into Interroll's "Automation" business unit. The Automation business unit, which will grow considerably as a result of the deal, is to be located in Sinsheim near Heidelberg. Established at the beginning of 2001, the Automation business unit is responsible for the development, production, and sale of subsystems and modules for controlling and handling non-bulk goods. This market has been experiencing above-average growth for many years.

Owing to the start-up phase of Interroll's Automation unit, which required substantial investments for engineering and sales activities, Interroll has not had the opportunity of participating fully within the growth market. The acquisition of Axmann constitutes the perfect opportunity for increasing its market share significantly in the short term. Axmann has benefited from the quality and uniqueness of its product offering, securing a large number of orders despite the strained economic climate. Particularly in the United States the company has been able to secure a number of large-scale projects on a long-term basis.

"Having conducted a thorough assessment, we identified Axmann as an ideal partner for the strategic expansion of our portfolio," says Paul Zumbühl, CEO of the Interroll Group. "The issue of the company's future management structure has also been addressed. Interroll has a global sales network, Axmann has excellent products and a great deal of specialist expertise," says Norbert Axmann, who will be supporting Interroll in an advisory capacity.

In order to avoid competition with existing Interroll customers, Axmann Fördersysteme GmbH in Zwenkau, Germany, which specialises in systems and plant engineering, will not be included in the acquisition package.

Axmann, a profitable and successful company employing around 130 members of staff, the Axmann sites in Sinsheim and Jeffersonville generate revenues of approx. CHF 30 million and an EBIT margin of more than 10% (earnings before interest and taxes). The company was established by Dipl.-Ing. Norbert Axmann in 1974, as an engineering consultancy. Following the introduction of a manufacturing plant at the company's Sinsheim location in the 1980s, Axmann Fördertechnik GmbH soon emerged as a highly qualified supplier of conveyor units and equipment for efficient materials handling, state-of-the-art order picking and rapid distribution of goods. The company offers a wide range of services within its specialist field, including the planning, development and implementation of systems.

Profile of the Interroll Group
Interroll is one of the world's leading suppliers of components and subsystems for materials handling, conveyor technology and automation. Under the umbrella of a strategic holding company located in Sant’Antonino, Switzerland, Interroll's four global business units are responsible for managing the Group's international activities, based on an incisive strategy in terms of market and product positioning. Within the components segment, the business units "Drives & Rollers" and "Bulk Handling" mainly focus on supporting regional original equipment manufacturers, while the business units "Automation" and "Dynamic Storage", which operate in the subsystems segment, are responsible for end-users and multinational corporations. Listed on Switzerland's SWX stock exchange, Interroll employs roughly 1100 people at 25 locations worldwide.

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