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To create automotive plastics power, Polish consortium scoops up hard-luck candidates

A Polish conglomerate long involved in the chemicals, coating, metalworking and plastics industries is scooping up down-on-their-luck plastics processing operations in Western Europe as it pursues plans to grow into a major international automotive parts processor. Last year the company, Boryszew, acquired the Maflow Group, and in July this year it bought Theysohn Kunststoff, a molder supplying VW. It pursued the bankrupt Saargummi Group but lost that bidding war to a Chinese manufacturer.

Now Boryszew has closed on bankrupt German automotive parts molder AKT, paying €6.7 million for AKT's fixed assets, intangible assets (including intellectual property), employees agreements and its contracts.

The purchases are an interesting twist on M&A movement in Europe, which typically involve a Western European company swooping in to buy assets in Eastern European countries such as Poland. But Boryszew SA (Warsaw, Poland) says its recent purchase of AKT (Altmärker Kunststoff-Technik GmbH; Gardenlegen, Germany) plus its purchases of automotive cable processor Maflow and injection molder Theysohn Kunststoff, with its injection mold manufacturing partner Theysohn Formenbau, signify the company's wish to become a power player in the processing of plastics parts and systems for the automotive industry. Maflow is headquartered in Italy whereas Theysohn and AKT are based in Germany.

Theysohn Kunstoff injection molds parts for Volkswagen car models including the VW Passat, VW Golf, VW Tiguan, and others. The company posted revenue of €48 million in 2010. Its injection mold manufacturing sister firm, Theysohn Formenbau , makes molds for automotive and for packaging applications, It had 2010 sales of about €11 million. Boryszew bought both for €2.1 million.

Regarding AKT, Boryszew bought AKT's German processing facility as well as one in the Czech Republic; it did not acquire a third AKT facility in Spain. AKT was declared insolvent in January 2011 but remained in operation even as it was losing about €1 million per month, according to an article in the German newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. The company's management blamed the insolvency on old contracts on which it was losing money; its order books were full. Boryszew officially identified its interest in AKT a few months later and closed on the company this summer.

AKT supplies dashboard panels, headrests, speaker covers, cup holders and other parts for Volkswagen, Opel and BMW. The company had 2010 revenue of more than €140 million ($201 million). AKT employs 900 in Germany and 200 in the Czech Republic. Boryszew reckons it will be able to realize some synergies between its newest purchase and Theysohn.

Boryszew had submitted a binding bid to acquire German automotive sealing systems supplier SaarGummi after that company went bankrupt, but in the end lost that fight to a Chinese manufacturer, Chongqing Light Industry & Textile Holdings (Group) Co., Ltd.

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