GEA Has Received a Binding Offer from Altifort to Acquire its Production Site in Château-Thierry


As part of its "Global Manufacturing Footprint Program" GEA aims to sell the Westfalia Separator Production France SAS entity (WSPF SAS), i.e. its French standard separators production facility (WSPF) and the respective real estate in Château-Thierry (Hauts-de-France region).

The administrative offices for GEA s other activities that are located in Château-Thierry will not be impacted. A binding offer has been submitted by the French industrial group Altifort that was brought in by Nord France Invest. On this basis, GEA and Altifort will now enter into exclusive negotiations. The proposed transaction would allow the preservation of all related jobs. The information and consultation procedure involving the employee representative bodies will be carried out immediately. To enable a smooth transition for all parties, a transitional period of up to two years could be agreed by the parties with GEA ensuring the purchase of relevant production services from the site. Subject to consultation with WSPF employee representatives in Château-Thierry, the parties contemplate to implement the transaction in the third quarter of 2018. The parties have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the transaction.

"After the evaluation of potential footprint scenarios as part of our Global Manufacturing Program, the offer made by Altifort is a material step towards streamlining the GEA production footprint. We are delighted to offer an industrial future to the production facility and skill-enhancing prospects for all employees. Altifort has our full confidence. We are convinced that Altifort will be able to further successfully develop the site," stated Steffen Bersch, member of the GEA Executive Board and responsible for the Business Area Equipment. "If we sell this production site, our customers will experience no difference at all as our product portfolio, previously produced in Château-Thierry, will remain completely unchanged."

"We would be delighted to integrate this production unit into the Altifort Group and would welcome the GEA employees on site whose high level of skills and qualifications is currently lacking in the group. We have a detailed, sustainable business plan with solid commercial prospects thanks to a substantial backlog and a real development plan for activities for which the know-how of the employees is an essential and precious asset," added Bart Gruyaert, General Manager of Altifort.

Today, GEA s Château-Thierry site hosts several branches employing a total of almost 200 employees. The branch targeted by the transaction is a production facility with more than 100 employees. The remaining local branches are sales and logistics entities that would not be affected by the transaction. The transaction foresees no compulsory redundancies of any WSPF employees and will be closely aligned with the respective procedures agreed with the French local works council and GEA s European Works Council.

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