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Archive 2007 (10/09/07) Oerlikon Balzers acquires VST Keller

Acquisition strengthens market position in the surface technology market and the automotive industry

Pfäffikon SZ, October 9, 2007 - With the acquisition of Verschleiss Schutz Technik Keller GmbH & Co KG (VST Keller) based in Schopfheim, Germany, Oerlikon Balzers consolidates its already strong position in the world's surface coating market and as a supplier for the global automotive industry. With products designed primarily for medium and large-sized stamping and forming dies, VST Keller brings innovative and environmentally friendly technologies (such as "Pulsed Plasma Diffusion", PPDTM) to the Oerlikon Group along with additional customer contacts and resources. "This acquisition opens up a new area for us in the surface coating market with far-reaching synergies for our existing coating business, but also for other business units such as Oerlikon Vacuum. In addition to this, the PPDTM technology of VST Keller strengthens our positioning as providers of clean technologies", says Dr. Uwe Krüger, CEO of Oerlikon. "As part of the Oerlikon Group we will have completely different conditions for boosting the market success of our unique PPD technology worldwide, particularly in Asia", affirms Dr. Klaus Keller, company founder and previous owner.

With the acquisition of VST Keller, Oerlikon Balzers - inventor of industrial surface coating technologies - is set to increase its already strong growth (more than 10 percent in the first half of 2007). Oerlikon Balzers is the clear market leader in the global coating business, with a network of some 80 coating centres worldwide, a turnover of nearly CHF 500 million and unique technologies such as P3eTM (Pulse Enhanced Electron Emission). The automotive industry is the most important customer group for Oerlikon Balzers.
The newly acquired company of VST Keller fits seamlessly into this market position. "VST Keller complements our product and technology program ideally. With the expanded portfolio we can now present ourselves more effectively as solution providers for the automotive industry and tap into additional resources in the form of existing VST plants and highly skilled workers", says CEO of Oerlikon Balzers Dr. Hans Brändle.

Since the early 80s, VST Keller has been at the forefront of surface technology for stamping and forming dies for the automotive industry, and is acknowledged by car manufacturers worldwide as the undisputed leader when it comes to specialist know-how. The highly successful and respected company, which has a workforce of around 100, provides a full range of services for press tooling, ranging from consulting to logistics and surface settings through to assembly; as such it will fit superbly into the strategy of Oerlikon Balzers. Among its customers are most of the leading auto manufacturers and many renowned suppliers to the industry. The Pulsed Plasma Diffusion (PPDTM) technology developed by VST Keller with unmatched functionality and cost-efficiency is a very environmentally friendly alternative to the hard chromium-plating techniques widely used today. With the acquisition, Oerlikon Balzers takes over two new coating centers - one in Schopfheim, Germany, and one in Alabama in the rapidly growing south-east of the US.

The acquisition will be completed on October 31, 2007. No disclosures have been made concerning the price paid for the company which has its headquarters in Schopfheim, Germany. In future the firm will bear the name Oerlikon Balzers VST GmbH and belong to the Oerlikon Balzers Business Unit. Oerlikon Balzers VST GmbH will be an international center of expertise for surface technology of forming dies. Dr. Keller will continue to support the company as a consultant. "That way we provide continuity and ensure that the integration of VST Keller in the Oerlikon Balzers Business Unit will take place quickly and smoothly", says Dr. Hans Brändle. "This step proves we are serious about fulfilling our promise to expand the high-margin core business of Oerlikon by means of targeted acquisitions. We intend to continue this strategy for all our business areas", says Oerlikon CEO Dr. Uwe Krüger.

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