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Addition of Waldrich Siegen boosts roll-machine producer Herkules.

Germany's Herkules Group has acquired the German segment of bankrupt American machine-tool company Ingersoll International (Rockford, Ill). The segment includes Waldrich Siegen Werkzeugmaschinen G.m.b.H. (Burbaeh, Germany), Waldrich Coburg Werkzeugmaschinen G.m.b.H. (Coburg, Germany) and other entities.

Just prior to filing for bankruptcy in April 2003, Ingersoll closed its American plants. However, since the 1200-worker Germany facilities were profitable, had good backlogs, and were managed separately from the U.S. companies, they remained operational throughout the liquidation of the holding company's assets. Ingersoll International's creditors and bankruptcy managers turned their attention first to its American holdings; the pace of the proceedings in Europe was unhurried by comparison. While Camozzi Group was closing on the sale of Ingersoll Milling Machine Co., investment bankers at InterFinanz in Dusseldorf were just starting to seek prospective buyers.
 In the end, they didn't have to look very far.
 Herkules Group is headquartered in Siegen,
 the same town where Maschinenfabrik H.A.
 Waldrich was founded in 1840.

Herkules, founded in Siegen in 1911, designs and manufactures all kinds of roll-shop equipment such as large grinders, mills, lathes, roll-handling equipment and specialized controls. It sells to steel mills, nonferrous roiling mills, and the paper industry. In addition to plants in Siegen and Meuselwitz in Germany, it operates an American subsidiary outside Pittsburgh, Pa.

Herkules took control of the former Ingersoll companies at a bankruptcy auction in Chicago, paying a reported 23-million euros. The sale effectively completes the liquidation of Ingersoll International Inc., which had once included a cutting-tool company (to Iscar), the large-machine firm (Camozzi), automotive oriented transfer-line producer and specialty crankshaft-machine firms (Dalian).
 Reports of the sale in Germany observe that
 an important consideration was avoiding transferring
 know-how abroad That "s reminiscent
 the political pressure brought to the negotiations
 for Ingersoll Milling Machine in the
 'States, in which China's Dalian Machine Tool
 first announced it was considering making an
 offer, then withdrew.

Herkules CEO Christoph Thoma notes that his new, combined machine-engineering group now has 1800 employees and will be a serious contender in the German market.

Plans call for Waldrich Coburg to concentrate on milling technology as its core business and for Waldrich Siegen to focus on roll grinders and heavy-duty lathes ( Both companies will remain in their present location and retain their employees for the foreseeable future, it's been announced, due to a solid backlog of orders.

Waldrich Siegen admittedly competes with Herkules in roll grinders. But observers at the companies say that they have enough product and service differentiation that they can continue the compete successfully against each other.

Maschinenfabrik Herkules & Co., Siegen, Germany. 49-271-6906-0.
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Publication:Metalworking Insiders' Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 15, 2004
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