China Continues to Invest in European Industrial Automation

In the News
June 13, 2016

Italy and Germany may be far from China, but companies in both are welcoming partnerships with Chinese firms for industrial automation.

The market for robotics in heavy industry will continue to grow at 6.19 percent from now through 2020, predicts Research and Markets.

Much of that growth will occur in China, which hopes to improve its “robot density” to maintain its manufacturing dominance. To that end, Chinese companies such as AGIC Capital have sought partners in Europe and elsewhere.

Chinese capital invested in Italian robotics supplier
AGIC Capital is spending €100 million ($113 million) to acquire a majority stake in Gimatic SRL, which makes end-of-arm tools for robotic arms.

Italy-based Gimatic supplies actuators, grippers, sensors, and plastic injection-molding equipment to the automotive, electronics, food, and pharmaceuticals industries. It has more than 100 patents and facilities worldwide, and its revenue has grown by more than 20 percent over the past three years.

“AGIC’s investment will support Gimatic’s internationalization and expansion in Asia, especially in China,” said China-based AGIC.

“Its significant growth potential is underpinned by a seismic shift in global manufacturing towards industrial automation and robotics, with the market set to more than double in size over the next five years,” said Heiko von Desitz, AGIC’s managing partner in Munich, Germany. “This is being fueled in large part by Asia’s growth in industrial infrastructure developments, fast-growing economies, higher manual labor costs, and increased focus on driving efficiency gains.”

Italy was the top destination in Europe for Chinese investment last year, according to the Financial Times.

Henry Cai, a former chairman of corporate finance at Deutsche Bank, founded AGIC Capital in March 2015. The $1 billion fund is intended to invest in Industry 4.0 partnerships between Asia and Europe.

In January, AGIC Capital partnered with China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Guoxin International Investment Corp. in acquiring KraussMaffei Group from Onex Corp. for €925 million ($1.045 billion). It was the largest investment to date by a Chinese company in a German one.

Munich-based KraussMaffei produces linear, industrial, and side-removal robots, as well as injection-molding and reaction-process machinery. It supplies the plastics and rubber-processing industry.

Cemtrex picks up Periscope
Cemtrex Inc. has spent €9 million ($10.16 million) to acquire Periscope GmbH, which makes electronics for Tier 1 suppliers to the automotive industry.

Germany-based Periscope‘s annual revenue is expected to be around €30 million ($33.87 million).

Farmingdale, N.Y.-based Cemtrex manufactures custom electronics and environmental sensors, and provides industrial contracting services. It has another electronics subsidiary in Germany and will rebrand Periscope as ROB Cemtrex.

Cemtrex expects to participate in “disruptive technologies” reshaping the automotive industry, such as...

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