Press Releases, 11.05.2017

PIA Automation acquires M&R Automation

New Automation Heavyweight emerges - Consolidating Industry 4.0

Frankfurt a.M./Grambach. PIA Automation Holding GmbH, which is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main and was spun off from the Preh Group, is acquiring M&R Automation GmbH in Grambach near Graz in Austria from funds advised by Quadriga Capital Beteiligungsberatung GmbH, Frankfurt am Main. PIA Automation, which belongs to the Chinese investor Jeff Wang, is thus forging a global automation specialist which will be one of the top 5 global players on a market dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises.

Beforehand, the Preh Group had set up its automation business as an independent business unit and, with the newly established PIA Automation Holding GmbH, created a strategic management holding company in which all the group’s automation activities will be bundled. With over 400 employees and sales of around EUR 70 million (2016), M&R Automation is already a leading automation company for the automotive, electronics and consumer goods industries, as well as for medical technology. In the near future, the operational Preh IMA Automation GmbH will also be spun off from the Preh Group and integrated into the new PIA Automation Holding. After the acquisition of M&R Automation, the PIA Automation Group will employ around 1,100 employees and have a turnover of about EUR 220 million. As part of PIA Automation’s growth strategy, the new partnership with M&R Automation will both complement the portfolio in the area of powertrain and e-mobility production solutions and lend a sustained impetus to the trending theme of Industry 4.0. In addition, M&R Automation GmbH, with its five locations in Austria, Germany, Canada and China, will contribute a complementary customer portfolio, as well as a high level of additional service competence to PIA Automation.

It was agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. In order to ensure uniform positioning, M&R Automation will in future also appear under the brand name PIA. The acquisition is still subject to approval by the competent authorities.

On the occasion of the acquisition of M&R Automation and the organizational reconfiguration of its automation activities, Jeff Wang, founder and majority shareholder of the Joyson Group, explained: “The automation business is a global growth market and offers us great opportunities, besides Europe and North America especially in China. In its 12th Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government formulated the goal of developing high-end production equipment against the background of China’s rising labor costs in recent years and the need to catch up with modern automation solutions. Together with M&R Automation, the new PIA Automation Group has the best growth opportunities both in China and in all other important markets for automation solutions.”

“By partnering with M&R Automation, PIA Automation is breaking out into a new dimension and consolidates our strengths, especially in the fields of powertrain and e-mobility, as well as Industry 4.0 and service along the entire production chain,” said Dr. Michael Roesnick, Managing Director of PIA Automation Holding. “For us, M&R Automation is a perfect addition to the PIA product and customer portfolio and will lend our already dynamic growth in North America, Europe and China a powerful impetus. As a German-Austrian automation group, and with the support of our Chinese investor Jeff Wang, we see excellent growth opportunities, especially in China.”

Jörg Mugrauer, Partner at Quadriga Capital Beteiligungsberatung GmbH, stated: “The funds we advise are always striving for a long-term and sustainable development of the holdings and therefore see PIA Automation as the ideal partner to continue M&R Automation’s growth strategy. Together, both companies, especially on the basis of their developments up to now in e-mobility and digitalization, have great potential for growth in Europe, North America and now, even more so, in China. PIA Automation’s development in Germany has already shown that the combination of European know-how and the best possible access to the booming Chinese automation market in this new configuration is a win-win situation.”

M&R Automation CEO Bernd M. Stütz added: “We are very much looking forward to working with our colleagues at PIA Automation. With regard to the equipment to be produced, we are mainly active in complementary automation segments, but ultimately serve similar customer requirements and have the same understanding of innovative automation solutions. With PIA Automation, we have found an ideal partner as a strategic investor which has already announced M&R’s expansion in Grambach, both in terms of personnel and area, with the construction of an additional hall measuring 1,800 sqm planned for this year.”

M&R Automation GmbH has nearly 30 years of experience in the field of industrial automation. Its services range from engineering through manufacturing and assembly to commissioning and maintenance. With 85% of the turnover, solutions for the automotive industry (particularly for powertrain and electric mobility) account for the largest proportion of sales. M&R Automation also serves customers in the electronics and consumer goods industry, as well as in medical technology. M&R Automation keeps abreast of the trends in the digitalization and networking of the manufacturing process with its own solutions for Industry 4.0, which enable the management and monitoring of the entire production chain.

In order to ensure the highest degree of flexibility and autonomy for PIA Automation’s dynamically growing business, the newly created group of companies was deliberately placed outside the listed Joyson Electronics, where Joyson has bundled its activities “Automotive Electronics” (Preh and Preh Car Connect), “Automotive Components” (Joyson Automotive and QUIN) and “Automotive Safety” (KSS). “The markets for automotive supplies and automation follow their own cycles and are characterized by different customer requirements. Preh and PIA will remain as independent affiliated companies within the Joyson family, but will continue to work independently on their respective markets,” said Jeff Wang.