China's XCMG buys majority of Germany's Schwing

FRANKFURT, April 19 Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:26am EDT

FRANKFURT, April 19 (Reuters) - China's Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG) has agreed to take a majority stake in privately-held German machinery manufacturer Schwing as Chinese companies race to get their hands on German industrial know-how.

The German concrete pump maker, which is one of the world's leading suppliers in its field, did not disclose a price for the investment in its statement on Thursday. Reuters first reported a deal was imminent on March 23..

"The premium brand Schwing is a central part of our strategic development," XCMG head Wang Min said in the statement, which also said the German management would remain in charge.

The deal follows a series of similar tie-ups this year in which Chinese firms have scooped up German groups to get their hands on technology, brands and a worldwide distribution network.

In March, German car parts maker Kiekert said it was being bought by Chinese peer Hebei Lingyun..

In January, China's Sany Heavy Industry said it would buy Schwing peer Putzmeister in a 360 million euro ($472 million) deal, and LDK Solar invested in German solar group Sunways.

Schwing's concrete pumps are being used to build the new high-rise building of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Dubai's exclusive Jumeirah Beach Residence and New York's One World Trade Center.

Schwing, owned by the Schwing family, posted sales of about 400 million euros ($525 million) in 2010 and saw revenue rise by a double-digit percentage last year. It also posted a profit in 2011. The group has not disclosed more recent figures.

The Herne, Germany-based company employs about 3,300 staff, but is cutting 160 jobs after its sales dropped by 30 percent amid the economic crisis. After the investment by XCMG no further job cuts are planned, a spokesperson said.

Rothschild advised Schwing on the deal.