Restructuring, acquisitions and partnership involve major and independent companies.
New CEO, CFO Named as Wittur/Sematic Deal Closes
The Wittur Group has announced Patrik Wohlhauser as its new CEO. Wohlhauser was formerly chief operating officer at Evonik Industries AG. Frank Schulkes, former chief financial officer (CFO) and executive vice president of GE Healthcare, has been named Wittur CFO. The news comes after Walter Rohregger resigned as CEO, and Daniel Wiest resigned as CFO as Wittur’s merger with Sematic closed on April 1. Both remain associated with Wittur in advisory roles.
Michael Siefke, chairman of Wittur Group’s Supervisory Board, thanked Rohregger for his service in “aligning the company’s strategic direction and shaping operational excellence.” Of Wohlhauser, Siefke said:
“He draws on significant international management and operational experience, and has longstanding expertise in combining and integrating businesses. In addition, Wohlhauser benefits from a profound knowhow in a variety of industries, including construction. Joining from outside the elevator business, he will add a fresh pair of eyes striving to implement innovate best practices, which go beyond our sector.”
Changes in KONE Executive Board, Organization
Noud Veeger left KONE on April 2 to pursue other interests. Veeger served as executive vice president responsible for Central and North Europe since September 2014 and was employed by the company since 1999. The search for his successor is in progress. In the interim, Klaus Cawén, executive vice president for Mergers and Acquisitions and Strategic Alliances, Legal Affairs, and Russia will head KONE’s Central and North Europe area.
In addition, KONE’s internal management structure for two of its geographical areas changed. Pierre Liautaud, who has served as executive vice president for West and South Europe, as well as Africa since 2011, will also assume responsibility for the Middle East area. This change is intended to enable synergies between the Middle Eastern and African markets and, thus, support KONE’s growth strategy in both regions. Neeraj Sharma, executive vice president since 2014, will continue to lead the renewed Asia-Pacific area, which includes other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, except for the Greater China area.
Henrik Ehrnrooth, president and CEO, explained:
“KONE has strong market positions across the Asia-Pacific, as well as in the Middle East, and we are expanding our presence in Africa. The new structure enables an even better focus to further strengthen our positions in these important growth markets.”
Orona Acquires French Firm to Expand Sales Network
Hernani, Spain-based manufacturer Orona has acquired Sealift Cote d’Azur, what it calls “the leading lift player in the Maritime Alps market.” Based in St. Laurent du Var, the company will continue to operate in lift maintenance contracting, repairing, retrofitting and replacing. It holds over 2,000 maintenance contracts and is the ninth Orona acquisition in France, where it now manages more than 22,000 maintenance contracts that generate more than EUR95 million (US$105.6 million) in revenue.
“This acquisition fits with Orona’s business strategy of increasing business volumes in the ‘Services’ segment, which encompasses lift maintenance contracts, repairs, retrofits and replacements, while expanding Orona’s footprint [in] southeast France, giving it nationwide reach in this market.”
British Motor Specialist, French Control Supplier Partner
Motor specialist Lafert Electric Motors Ltd. of Cheshire, U.K., and Autinor, a lift-control system supplier based in Avelin, France, have formed a partnership. Combined, the partners have equipment in more than 55,000 projects throughout Europe and beyond. Lafert brings a permanent-magnet, brake motor compatible with Autinor’s lift project management, installation, web-based remote monitoring and maintenance services. Abder Sadouk, Lafert’s product manager for Gearless Machines, said the partnership provides “an ideal package for architects, buildings engineers and lift installers based on proven products and local backup.”
Schindler to Cut 120 Jobs at Swiss Factory
In March, Schindler confirmed to EW that it planned to cut 120 jobs at its factory in Ebikon, Switzerland, citing strong growth in Asia and high production costs in Switzerland, according to a report in swissinfo.ch. The Ebikon factory employs approximately 200 people, and the cuts would become effective by the end of 2017. Some of them will be achieved through internal transfers and early retirement. The plan is to transition the Ebikon factory into a design center.
KONE Acquires thyssenkrupp Hissit Oy
KONE has acquired thyssenkrupp Hissit Oy, a Finnish subsidiary of thyssenkrupp specializing in elevator and escalator maintenance. Noud Veeger, executive vice president of KONE Central and North Europe, said the acquisition strengthens KONE’s operations in the Helsinki, Tampere and Turku regions, and promises to enhance service to new and existing customers there.
Damac Poised to Embark on Massive Aykon City
Damac Properties plans to break ground by summer 2016 on a six-tower, mixed-use development along Sheik Zayed Road in Dubai covering 4 million sq. ft., Khaleej Times reported. Aykon City is set to include the 80-story Aykon Hotel and Residences with a skywalk on the 80th floor, 63-story Damac Maison serviced hotel residences, a 60-story apartment tower, a 65-story office tower and a pair of 30-story residential towers featuring private automobile lifts. Also planned are swimming pools, restaurants and clubhouses. The development is a collaboration with Meraas Holding and is scheduled for completion in 2021.
New Barcelona Metro Stations Boast thyssenkrupp System
thyssenkrupp supplied 128 escalators and 52 elevators to 15 new Barcelona Metro stations that were inaugurated on February 12, part of the new Line 9 linking the Barcelona Airport with eastern parts of the city. Line 9 is expected to handle approximately 30 million passengers per year, and the thyssenkrupp units are expected to enhance travel efficiency through a system that gathers data such as train arrivals and numbers of passengers and adjusts accordingly. thyssenkrupp also holds the maintenance contracts for the units, some of which were installed at a depth of 90 m.