SYDNEY, Australia—ContiTech A.G. has expanded its railway air springs business—especially bolstering the operation in the U.S., Australia and Malaysia—by acquiring Vulcanite Pty Ltd.
Vulcanite is a Sydney-based engineering specialist that designs and manufactures rail suspension components, noise and vibration isolators and piling elastomers for the global market. The company primarily uses rubber- and steel-molded composites.
In addition to the rail sector, the firm produces goods for the industrial, construction and marine markets, but, according to a ContiTech spokeswoman, that is only a minor part of Vulcanite's business.
Based in Sydney, it operates production plants in the Sydney suburb of Regents Park and Seremban, Malaysia, a state-of-the-art facility it opened in 2012, she said. The firm has a work force of about 60.
ContiTech will retain both factories and Vulcanite's work force. The spokeswoman said it intends to build rather than consolidate Vulcanite because it “is a suitable complement to our own existing business.”
Financial details were not disclosed on the transaction, which actually closed July 1 but was not made public until July 27 because “we first wanted to inform all employees involved,” she said.
A division of tire maker Continental A.G., ContiTech made the purchase because it “fits perfectly with our company's strategy and at the same time opens up additional growth potential in the railway business for air springs,” according to Claus-Peter Spille, head of the firm's Air Springs Systems business.
Until the Vulcanite acquisition was made, the spokeswoman said, ContiTech had been active in the rail industry in nine countries: India, China, South Korea, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Slovenia, Mexico and Brazil.
With the addition of Australia, the U.S. and Malaysia, ContiTech's air springs business will have a much stronger base.
Vulcanite has a well-positioned base in Australia and the U.S., where a large number of parts it produces are exported, primarily for the railway market, the spokeswoman said.
Another key factor that prompted Hanover, Germany-headquartered ContiTech to make the purchase was that it strengthens the company's business outside of automotive, a strategic aim of the firm.
“We extend our business in the railway aftermarket, which means Vulcanite opens up new sales markets,” the spokeswoman said. “We therewith upgrade our service to better meet our customers' demands. They do not want products and systems only, but also services.”
Overall, Vulcanite provides flexible engineering solutions to major companies worldwide, including three of the world's four leading railway rolling stock builders and three of the major vibratory piling hammer manufacturers, ContiTech noted.
In the rail industry, the company designs and manufactures suspension components for heavy and light passenger vehicles, locomotives and track maintenance vehicles.
It also engineers and produces elastomers used to isolate mechanical vibrations in a range of equipment for the construction and industrial sectors and produces a limited number of components for use in marine applications, including dock fenders, floating dock hinges, ship lifting pads and other products.