The Kaba group, which is active in security technology, says it is seeking to make a major acquisition in North America. It wants to buy Unican Security Systems of Canada for SFr1.1 billion ($650 million).
Kaba, based in Rümlang near Zurich, said the acquisition would significantly expand sales, increase operating profit before amortization and strengthen the company's position as one of the world's leading providers of security technologies.
In a statement, Kaba said key Unican shareholders had agreed, subject to conditions, to tender their shares.
Kaba is to seek shareholder approval for capital market financing of a maximum of SFr600 million at an extraordinary general meeting in February.
The statement said the intention was to raise equity via a capital increase, possibly in combination with the issuing of convertible bonds.
The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be concluded in the first quarter of 2001.
Kaba said the acquisition would provide "superb" access to North America's locking systems market, which is still at a lower security level than German-speaking markets in Europe.
The Unican group is the global market leader in the manufacture and distribution of keys, transponder keys and key coding systems for high-security locks, automatic teller machines and the automotive sector.
It also has a strong position in electronic access solutions for hotels, as well as electronic locks for commercial and institutional applications.
swissinfo with agencies