VIENNA, Austria—Semperit A.G. Holding has plans in the works to sell its medical goods operation, Sempermed, and transform Semperit into a company focused solely on its expanding industrial rubber products businesses.
There is no fixed deadline for the sale of the medical unit, a company spokeswoman said. "Our clear priority is to find the best possible owner and create perspectives for the Sempermed employees."
CEO Martin Fuellenbach called the plan the "biggest strategic landmark decision" Semperit has made in the last few decades, and said the move will ensure the viability and higher profitability for the company in the future.
Sempermed produces products at four plants, three of which could be involved in a transaction involving the sale of the operation. The business makes surgical gloves at Semperit's main facility in Wimpassing, Austria; surgical glove packaging at its Sopron, Hungary, site; examination and protection gloves at its Kamunting, Malaysia, plant; and porcelain molds for glove production at its Nilai, Malaysia, factory.
All Sempermed employees, about 3,000, will be impacted once it is sold, according to the spokeswoman.
While the plant in Hungary and the two factories in Malaysia could be included in a sale, the site in Austria likely will not be part of any deal, the company said.
Although the Wimpassing facility makes surgical gloves, it primarily produces goods for Semperit's Semperform and Semperflex businesses, which are both part of the industrial segment. It also houses key company-wide departments such as research and development and mixing.
Semperseal makes profiles and rubber sheeting while Semperform manufactures handrails, sheaves and bull wheel liners for ropeways, ski foils and engineered solutions. The industrial operation also includes Sempertrans, a manufacturer of conveyor belts, and Semperflex, which produces hydraulic and industrial hoses.
"Our main site in Wimpassing will unquestionably remain a part of the Semperit Group," according to Fuellenbach. In fact, he said, the firm wants to give the production plant higher relevance.
Fuellenbach said "the future of Semperit is clearly in the industrial sector. Despite our clear improvement of the operating performance indicators at Sempermed from the second quarter of 2019 on, we are faced with drastically intensified competitive dynamics in the medical sector. The capacity-based gap between us and the market leaders is growing.
"This is why we are firmly convinced that our medical business can be better continued and developed by different owners," he said.