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© Assembléon Electronics Production | January 07, 2011

Assembléon: 'We can – and will – only get better'

Philips' intention to sell off an 80% stake in SMT equipment manufacturer Assembléon to H2 Equity partners has brought on a few questions. So we had a little chat with Andre Papoular, CEO at Assembléon, about the changes.

Fact is that Philips has been focusing its core business strategy and has developed its portfolio towards the Health & Well Being segment for quite some time now. Some businesses – such as Assembléon – do not really fit into the future portfolio of Philips anymore. With H2 Equity partners, the Dutch electronics giant seems to have found a partner that will not only safeguard its future, but also bring new growth opportunities to Assembléon. So what does this mean for the management, staff, customers and suppliers of Assembléon? “We were always looking at possibilities to keep Assembléon intact. While the ownership of the company will change at the date of transfer – Philips will retain 20%, while H2 will own 80% – we will be able to continue as a stand-alone company; with the same footprint, the same strategy and the same product mix that we currently have. It means continuation.” Philips has clearly shown its commitment to a successful spin off for Assembléon over the past many years and will continue to do so with its 20% participation in the (potential) new construction. So Assembléon was looking for a partner that would have the financial means for providing growth opportunities and see the potential of the company. The positive developments of Assembléon, in many areas, during 2009 and 2010 also means that there will be no restructuring attached to the deal with H2 Equity Partners, a good message to customers, staff and suppliers alike. “We clearly expect the new partner to provide continuation for our staff. We do not expect any changes to our strategy.” “What we have done over the past years is to develop a strategy that will allow us to adapt smoothly and quickly to market dynamics. I cannot predict any future developments, but they will not be related to the potential deal that we are discussing right now. Such a change – as going into new markets for instance, changing the footprint or where Assembléon would be headquartered – would also have taken place under the umbrella of Philips. Any possible changes will clearly be driven by market dynamics.” So we are looking at a purely financial partner. “Absolutely.” Over the past few years, Assembléon has been busy finding the right market strategy and optimising the business. The fact that the equipment manufacturer was able to nearly double its turnover in 2010 YoY, while retaining its headcount of around 400, is an indication of "work well done by all my colleagues, employees of Assembléon". "From a productivity point of view, we clearly benefited from what we had to go through last year. We learned from it and took the right decisions. We decided to focus more on the Asian market, while at the same time continuing strongly in Europe and America. As a result of that we were able to create the necessary attractiveness to stipulate a potential deal." "Having said that, H2 has to be regarded as an investor with a good track record in managing its portfolio of activities and we will, for sure, benefit from this. Sharing best practices with a new partner would automatically lead to productivity and efficiency improvement, while keeping a strong customer focus."
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