Construction

Putzmeister board did not know it would be sold

Sany’s Changsa plant has been described as something Putzmeister can only “dream of” by its owner Karl Schlect.

Sany’s Changsa plant has been described as something Putzmeister can only “dream of” by its owner Karl Schlect.

Following Sany’s announcement that it will buy the German giant last month, Schlect has been in China to discuss the merger of the two companies.

Schlect has been in China to discuss the merger of the two companies.

The deal thought to be worth $606 million has split opinion in Germany. Putzmeister was founded by Schlect in 1958 and grew into the world’s leading supplier of high-tech concrete pumps. The company, which recorded sales revenue of $450 million in 2011, employs 3,000 people at its Aichtal plant, making it a major employer and a pillar of German industry.

News of the deal reportedly sparked protests at the plant with a member of the company’s work council claiming that the company’s supervisory board was “not informed” of Schlect’s decision to sell.

Sieghard Bender, regional head of worker union IG Metall described the deal to German newspaper Das Spiegel as a “Götterdämmerung (twilight of the gods)”, an expression that means the violent downfall of a system. The newspaper reported that 700 workers had been involved in protest at the gates of the company. Some workers are said to have been angered by comments made by Schlect who described Sany’s plant as, “something we can only dream of. It was clean as a whistle in there.”

Schlect is also alleged to have called the reaction in Germany a “monumental stupidity”. In a statement following the announcement, Putzmeister said that both partners will benefit substantially from the combination.

“Sany’s financial strength secures Putzmeister’s growth prospects and provides a significant competitive advantage. Sany adds to its portfolio technologically cutting-edge products and innovations [that are] ‘Made in Germany’ and acquires a strong distribution and service network outside of China,” said Putzmeister.

The transaction marks the first time that a large and well-known German company has merged with a Chinese partner. Addressing local concerns, Sany said it is not planning to restructure the company. It has been rumoured that Schlecht, who is now aged 78, was unable to find an outstanding candidate to succeed him at the head of the company. He said that Sany’s own founder Liang Wengen shared his company’s values.

“This merger is a global showcase transaction. Sany is one of the few Chinese conglomerates which is personally operated by the founder, who is also the majority shareholder,” said Schlect. “In fact, Liang Wengen shares our entrepreneurial spirit, but also Putzmeister’s visions and corporate values.”

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