Brescia, Italy -- MIR one of Italy's best-known brands of injection moulding machinery has been saved from extinction after being bought at auction for Euro 9.6m by HT Italy.
Brescia-based MIR, which went into insolvency two years ago, was finally acquired by HT Italy based in Cazzago, close to Brescia, at an auction held last Tuesday. There were no other bidders.
However, of the 51 workers still on MIR's books (and receiving benefit from the government under a system called Cassa Integrazione), only 12 are being taken on by HT Italy. Six of the 12 have in fact been working for HT for almost a year already, but they were paid by the government.
HT Italy could have bought MIR at an auction earlier this year, but withdrew because of an unsettled issue over payments totalling around Euro 1m owed to ex-MIR personnel from previous owners.
That issue remains unresolved, but in the meantime HT Italy reached an agreement with trade unions that enabled the sale to go ahead.
HT Italy is the Italian distributor for Chinese Haitian machines, which can be modified to incorporate Italian controls and any special options required by the customer. Modifications are carried out either in China or by Haitian Europe, which is located on the same site in Cazzago.
The Ningbo Haitian Group in Ningbo, China, owns Haitian Europe, but has no financial holding in HT Italy. HT Italy managing director Pietro Nicolazzi was instrumental in setting up Haitian Europe in 2003. He headed the company until early 2006, when he and some Italian associates set up HT Italy and Haitian appointed two managing directors at Haitian Europe, Eric Taveau and Uwe BÃ¤r.
Nicolazzi is also co-owner of Wave IMMSA, a producer of rubber injection moulding equipment founded last year, which has operations in Cazzago and in Lugano, Switzerland.
Nicolazzi plans to close HT Italy's Cazzago operation and concentrate Italian manufacturing on MIR's site, which covers 28,000 square metres. When fully operational in the autumn, there will be between 30 and 35 employees in total.
By comparison, when MIR ceased production in December 2006, it employed around 120, and when it was at its height there were close to 200 on its books. Work on readying production in Brescia will begin in April.
Speaking by phone to PRW.com, Nicolazzi said there will be three lines of injection moulding equipment carrying the MIR label: low cost toggles, rubber machines, and large machines. This year, he expects to sell around 160 machines, with a target of at least 200 in 2009.
Haitian Europe will continue its operations in Cazzago. In an e-mail, Haitian International executive director and chief strategy officer Helmar Franz told PRW.com that: â€œThe future of the cooperation between HT Italy and Haitian Europe will be discussed and mutually decided after the Easter holidays.â€ Haitian Europe is closed for the Easter holidays until 1 April.
From PRW (A Crain publication)