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Leica Geosystems expands in North America

The company's measuring instruments are in use around the globe

(Keystone)

Swiss surveying specialist Leica Geosystems, the target of an unfriendly takeover from Sweden’s Hexagon, is strengthening its position in North America.

It has bought the Canadian company Terramatics for an undisclosed sum and is expanding its United States headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

Leica Geosystems said in a statement on Monday that the acquisition of Terramatics, based in Calgary, Alberta, would strengthen the expertise in its geospatial imaging division.

The company is also to occupy a 100,000 square foot facility at Technology Park in Norcross, Georgia, to function as the regional headquarters for the Americas.

A statement from the company’s headquarters on Tuesday said the move would help the company make full use of its resources and drive its effectiveness in the market.

Strong position

"Leica Geosystems has a strong position in the US and is market leader in spatial information technologies," said Hans Hess, CEO of Leica Geosystems.

"Now, we further expand our local presence, supported by a dedicated team that knows the Americas market and its customers very well."

The statement said Terramatics had a proven track record of developing customised GPS navigation systems that cover specialised terrestrial, marine and airborne applications.

In a move to counter a takeover bid from Hexagon, Leica Geosystems last Thursday said it would buy back SFr100 million ($78 million) of its own shares.

A company statement said the buy-back programme would be made subject to Leica Geosystems remaining independent.

Formal offer

Hexagon made a pre-announcement of its formal purchase offer on June 13, saying it wanted to acquire Leica Geosystems to form a "world-leading provider of survey and measurement technology solutions".

The offer to shareholders, made two weeks later, is SFr440 per share, valuing the company at about SFr1.1 billion.

The offer price includes a premium of just over 20 per cent compared with the average daily opening prices of Leica Geosystems shares during the 30 trading days before publication of the pre-announcement.

However, on a general assembly meeting on Wednesday, Leica shareholders said they would support Lieca's fight against a possible takeover by Hexagon.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Leica Geosystems has almost 200 years of experience of measuring the world.
The company is active worldwide and has its headquarters in Heerbrugg near St Gallen.
It employs more than 2,400 people in 23 countries, with 900 in Switzerland.
It has hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries.
Leica Geosystems recorded a net profit of SFr50.6 million on sales of SFr773 million in its last fiscal year.
The firm plans annual growth of ten per cent.

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