The Sulzer corporation of Winterthur has announced a major step in its divestiture programme. It has sold its textile division to the Promatech company of Italy, a member of the Itema group.
Under the terms of the contract, all Sulzer Textil business will be transferred to Promatech, which will keep the 1,850 Sulzer Textil staff under their current employment contracts. No financial details of the transaction have been released.
The move, subject to approval by the regulatory authorities, will make Promatech and Sulzer Textil the market leader in the worldwide weaving machinery business.
A Sulzer statement on Friday said that Sulzer Textil, once considered the flagship of the corporation, would continue its business as an operationally independent group. This includes the right to use the trade name "Sulzer Textil".
Sulzer's chief executive officer Fred Kindle said that he was pleased that Sulzer Textil was being acquired by a strategically well-positioned group.
"For Sulzer, this is an important step towards completion of the divestiture programme, which will generate SFr400 million ($232.15 million) in net proceeds for Sulzer," he said.
Sulzer Textil, which offers a broad range of weaving machines, employs most of its staff at Zuchwil in canton Solothurn (1,000) and Rüti (400).
It had sales of SFr684 million in 2000.
The Sulzer corporation has been undergoing the most fundamental restructuring since its founding in 1834.
After the spin-off of Sulzer Medica earlier this month, Sulzer is now a purely industrial corporation founded on the core businesses of Sulzer Metco (surfacing technology), Sulzer Turbomachinery Services, Sulzer Pumps and Sulzer Chemtech (chemical process technology), together with the Sulzer Hexis fuel cell venture division.
Annual sales for the core businesses in 2000 totalled SFr1.6 billion.
swissinfo with agencies