In February 2010, Pepperl+Fuchs and the Siemens Industry Automation Division signed an agreement concerning the acquisition of the Siemens binary proximity switches business by Pepperl+Fuchs. What were the reasons for this development?
Dr. Kegel: On the one hand, the acquisition enabled us to become the absolute market leaders in ultrasonic sensors for factory automation. On the other hand, the additional sales we can expect to generate in the area of inductive proximity switches, will help optimize capacity utilization at our factories. Finally, we will be gaining a team of well-trained, experienced sensor specialists in the areas of development, product management, and production.
Initially, the two parties have agreed on a period of integration to ensure a seamless transition. Could you tell us how things stand today and what further steps are planned?
Dr. Kegel: As of 6/30/2010, the date on which the acquisition was finally closed, Pepperl+Fuchs has acquired the entire business and will produce and supply the products using the same order references and at the same conditions. From this key date, Siemens will no longer accept orders for proximity switches.
What does this mean for the employees affected by the acquisition?
Dr. Kegel: We intend to take on all employees of the Siemens Group who are directly involved in the proximity switch business and who agree to the transfer of operations. This will involve about 30 developers and product managers in Amberg and a production unit with 70 employees in Trutnov in the Czech Republic.
What synergy effects do you expect? What impact will the acquisition have on your sales structure?
Dr. Kegel: We mainly expect synergies in sales - we are not taking on any of Siemens’ sales staff - and in production, where we intend to significantly improve capacity utilization.