Special to CONTRACTOR
FRANKFURT, GERMANY —German tool and heating equipment manufacturer Robert Bosch Co. was on the verge of wrapping up its purchase of boiler maker Buderus in late April.
Bosch announced in January this it wanted to buy Buderus (February, p. 5). Bosch revealed then that it owned 13.35% of Buderus’ stock.
Bosch, which had subsequently acquired 17% of Buderus stock on its own, announced in April that it had reached an agreement with German construction firm Bilfinger Berger to buys its 30.2% stake in Buderus. Bosch said it would offer Buderus shareholders approximately $31.25 per share for the rest of the company. Bosch was also reportedly talking to Commerzbank to buy its 10.5% share of Buderus.
Buderus resigned itself to the takeover.
“Bilfinger Berger AG announced that they intend to sell their 30.02% interest in Buderus AG to Robert Bosch GmbH,” Buderus said in a statement. “The price per voting share is EUR 29.15, the total sales price will amount to some EUR 551 million. The transaction will increase Bosch’s share in Buderus AG to approximately 47%. While the Management Board of Buderus AG regret this step, they respect Bilfinger Berger AG’s decision.
“Bosch has announced a EUR 29.15 takeover bid for all Buderus AG shares held by other shareholders. This price includes an appropriate premium on the recent months’ share price in an extremely difficult stock market environment. The proposed takeover bid means that all shareholders will be treated equally.
“Bosch has made it clear that the castings and special steel products operations will be continued. This will enable the respective Divisions to continue their activities free from speculations. The Heating Products Division will have to maintain the strong Buderus brand profile and continue to fully exploit the strengths of the direct distribution channel in Germany.”
Also in late April, Buderus said it expects German sales to remain weak and it plans to focus on foreign markets. The firm also said it plans to take over a foreign, but unnamed, boiler manufacturer. Buderus recently purchased British boilermaker Boulter Boilers for a bit more than $14 million.
Bosch already sells heating equipment in Europe under the Junkers brand name. It is also a major supplier to the automotive market.
Buderus officials in the U.S. said that Bosch has been talking about buying Buderus for 18 months.
In a statement issued in January Bosch noted, “Our Thermotechnology division [Junkers] already today holds a strong position internationally. For gas-fired water-heating boilers, we are Number One in Europe. Worldwide, we are among the top three suppliers in this field. For gas-fired heating boilers, we are the largest supplier both in Europe and on the world market.
According to Reuters, Buderus has heating equipment sales of about EUR 1.2 billion, while Junkers has sales of about EUR 900 million. The current market leader, privately held German company Vaillant, which once sold in the U.S., has sales of EUR 1.4 billion.