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Saia joins growing list of takeover targets

There are different kinds of electrical components in the company's product line (Saia-Burgess)

The electrical components manufacturer Saia-Burgess has become the latest Swiss company that foreign competitors are keen to take over.

Japan’s Sumida Corporation is to launch a public bid for the company later this month, valuing the company at SFr583 million ($454 million).

The Swissfirst financial group, which is advising Sumida on the deal, said in a statement that the Japanese company would offer SFr950 per share.

Sumida said late on Thursday that it had already built up a 20 per cent stake in Saia-Burgess, which has its headquarters in Murten, canton Fribourg.

The offer, which Saia-Burgess said it was expecting but would be unwelcome, is to be officially published in three weeks’ time and open for 20 trading days.

In a statement on Monday, the company’s board and management said they were "clearly convinced" that the autonomy of Saia-Burgess offered the most attractive prospects for the future.

A later communiqué was short and to the point.

Offer noted

The Board of Directors and the Group Management of Saia-Burgess... have noted the announcement by Sumida of its intention to make an offer for the whole of the issued share capital of Saia-Burgess at a price of SFr 950 per share, it said.

It added that the company was examining the offer and would issue a recommendation to its shareholders.

Shares in Saia-Burgess, which makes small electrical motors used in the car industry, have increased by almost 60 per cent over the past year, and by ten per cent in the past week.

There had been growing speculation for a number of weeks that an Asian investor wanted to snap the company up to gain access to Switzerland’s export-driven industrial sector.

Sumida has not been alone in casting a close eye on Swiss companies. Hexagon of Sweden has launched an unfriendly bid for measurement instrument company Leica Geosystems.

And earlier this week, technology corporation Unaxis fell into the hands of Austrian investors.

In what is perhaps the most highly profiled move, national carrier Swiss is being taken over by Germany’s Lufthansa.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

In 2004, the company posted net profit of SFr26.3 million on sales of SFr568.4 million.
Saia-Burgess employed 3,630 people at the end of last year.

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In brief

The Saia-Burgess group says it focuses on strong growth segments in the automotive and industrial areas and on infrastructure automation.

The product emphasis is on the development and production of switches, actuators, electronic products and electronic controllers.

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