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Americans acquire Ascom division

Ascom is selling its ticket machines and airport parking meters

(Keystone)

Ascom, the Swiss technology group, has sold its transport revenue division to Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) for SFr130 million ($103 million).

Around 750 jobs will be affected as Ascom continues its strategy of selling off parts of its businesses, in this case its ticket machines and airport parking meters.

The Bern-based company said it expects to make a high double-digit Swiss franc sum from the transaction.

Analysts, however, said the sale price was at the lower end of expectations, even despite the fact that Ascom will retain up to ten per cent of the business, including European road toll operations.

The transport revenue division comprises three business units: transit, parking and toll collection. Offices are located across nine countries.

Revenues generated by the division for the previous 12 months were around $180 million.

Owing to international regulatory and local approvals, the transaction is not expected to close until the final quarter of 2005.

Global leader

"This combination will solidify ACS’s position as the leading provider of transportation solutions to governments worldwide in terms of revenue," said Tom Burlin, ACS group president.

The acquisition of Ascom’s transport revenue division will bring nearly 800 employees to Dallas-based ACS from Switzerland, France, Britain, Spain, Italy, China, Mexico, Chile and the United States.

The division will be led by its current managing director, Riet Cadonau, and will be integrated into ACS’s existing transportation solutions business headed by Michael Huerta.

Shares in Ascom fell in early trading on Wednesday by 1.8 per cent but later bounced back to a midday price of SFr19.10.

In 2004 Ascom returned to profit after three years in the red, posting a net profit of SFr47 million.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

In 1987 three leading Swiss companies – Autophon, Hasler and Zellweger – merged to form Ascom.

Ascom made a net profit of SFr47 million ($40.4 million) in 2004, after posting a loss of SFr68 million the previous year.

The company has been divesting businesses in a bid to return to profitability and is focusing on two divisions: instruments such as pagers for hospitals and alarm systems.

The number of employees stands at 2,800, compared with more than 3,700 at the beginning of the year.

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