By Liz White, ERJ staff
Stockholm-Swedish engineering group Hexagon AB has acquired all the operating assets, including the order backlog, of Italian polymeric wheel manufacturer GPD Sprl. The acquired unit, which has sales amounting to some Euro 2 million, will be incorporated into the Hexagon Polymers business unit, said the Swedish group in a statement on the acquisition
GPD's manufacturing business will be relocated to Hexagon Polymers' plants in Sri Lanka, and Hexagon said it has simultaneously decided to expand capacity there, in a move to be finalised during the first half of 2005. This new capacity will help meet further volume growth in wheels and in gaskets for plate heat exchangers, said Hexagon, without revealing further details of the expansion.
Hexagon aims to be global No.1 or No.2 in all of its strategic businesses. It sees itself as No.1 already in solid wheels and rollers in Europe. This latest move pushing it closer to becoming the world's leading supplier of solid polymeric wheels for trucks and track drive applications.
Hexagon Polymers other business units include polymeric heat exchanger (PHE) gaskets, where it claims to be No. 1 worldwide. Manufacturing of both gaskets and wheels is split between Europe and Sri Lanka, with Hexagon using the Far-East location to produce long runs of standard labour-intensive products.
Hexagon Polymers had 2003 turnover of SKr 873 million (Euro 95 million), and 1114 employees. Its wheel manufacturing locations are:
* Stellana AB, LaxÃ¥, Sweden (employs100, making wheels); and
* Elastomeric Piliyandala in Sri Lanka (employs 600, making wheels and PHE gaskets).
Earlier this year the Hexagon rubber compounding operation became No. 1 in Europe and a major player worldwide through its purchase of Thona's compounding empire. Following this buy, rubber compounds formed 47 percent of Hexagon Polymers turnover, wheels 25 percent, and PHE gaskets 22 percent.
Hexagon Polymers' other manufacturing units are:
* Gislaved Gummi, Gislaved, Sweden (employs 310, making PHE gaskets and compounds);
* GFD Technology, HÃ¼ckelhoven Baal, Germany (employs 90, in compounding);
* Former Thona sites in Eupen, Belgium; Stateseville, North Carolina; Magog, Canada; and Unicov, Czech Republic (all rubber compounding).