Monday, February 27, 2012

The Invisible Hand Touches Germany in No-no Place: China Grabs Putzmeister

It's part of a national strategy.
From Der Spiegel:

Buying Germany's Hidden Champions
Takeover Could Signal New Strategy for China
Concrete pump manufacturer Putzmeister is the first top-tier German company to be acquired by a Chinese company eager to get its hands on Western know-how, but it is unlikely to be the last. The acquisition could be the start of a new strategy as China tries to transform itself into a high-tech economy. And the Germans might even benefit too.

Is there a greater insult for a business owner in Germany's famously house-proud Swabia region than being told its facilities are too dirty? If there is, it would have to be the accusation that he has sold his life's work to the communists.

Karl Schlecht has had to live with this verdict since the Friday before last. Schlecht, 79, has sold the company that he founded, the concrete pump manufacturer Putzmeister Group, to its rival Sany, a construction machinery giant from the southern Chinese city of Changsha.

The deal, hammered out in secret, has triggered a "state of shock" at Putzmeister headquarters in Aichtal near Stuttgart, says a member of the company's works council: "Not even the supervisory board was informed." On Monday of last week, 700 Putzmeister employees gathered in front of the factory gates to protest the sale to the Chinese.

In the meantime, company founder Schlecht went on a tour of China, at the invitation of the purchasers. A butler attended to his needs in a luxury guesthouse in Changsha, and Sany Chairman Liang Wengen put one of his four Maybach limousines, complete with a chauffeur, at Schlecht's disposal. The German guest was also flown in the company helicopter to the birthplace of the former Chinese dictator, Mao Zedong.

'Monumental Stupidity'
Schlecht cannot understand the consternation of his employees in Aichtal. He calls their reaction "monumental stupidity." After touring the Sany plant, Schlecht is convinced that what Sany is doing in China is "something we can only dream of," and that the takeover was the best thing that could have happened to Putzmeister. The Swabian native was also impressed by the Chinese facilities. "It was as clean as a whistle there," he says....MORE
Putzmeister to Fukushima

...The crane is so big it needs to fly on the world's biggest cargo plane, the Russian-built Antonov 225, and requires special permits. Along with the American pump,a 190-foot pump is being sent from Vietnam and two 203-foot pumps are going from Germany. None of the pumps can be returned because all will be too contaminated by radiation....