For two centuries, Swiss machinery manufacturer Rieter concentrated on textile machinery in
general, and on machinery for the whole spinning process in particular. Over the last 20 years,
Rieter expanded its operations with activities in the automotive industry and nonwovens. Some 10
years ago, Rieter bought France-based Perfojet from ICBT and its owner, Bernard Terrat. According
to Erwin Stoller, CEO of Rieter Spinning Systems at that time, the reason for the takeover was to
have a more balanced product portfolio. In the ever-so-volatile textile machinery market, the
acquisition was welcomed by the industry and considered to be a clever step to share the risks in
one particular sector.
Back To The Roots
Those times are now past. Yesterday, Rieter Group announced that it signed a contract on
December 11 with Austria-based international technology group Andritz to sell Rieter Perfojet
S.A.S. This time, the message states the divestment was made “in the context of focusing on core
activities in the Textile Division of Rieter.”
Located in Montbonnot, France, near Geneva, Rieter Perfojet develops and manufactures
nonwovens production machinery and systems. The company has 50 employees, and its annual sales
total some 40 million Swiss francs. The company’s well-known products and technologies are marketed
under the JETlace® and SPUNjet® brand names. Rieter Perfojet has a reputable name in the
marketplace, and the production lines are used globally for the hydroentanglement of nonwovens, the
so-called spunlace products.
In the past month, Rieter Group has been repeatedly in the news for its financial problems.
According to some internal sources, these difficulties were over in recent weeks. However, Rieter
Group stated in its release that “as a consequence of the current economic crisis Rieter has
intensified its efforts to concentrate its resources in the Textile Division on its core
competencies in the field of spinning machinery for short staple fibers, together with technology
components and service offerings. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
Completion of the transaction is subject to the consent of the anti-trust authorities. This is
expected at the beginning of 2010.”
The new owner, Andritz, with more than 13,000 employees and 2008 sales totaling some 3.6
billion euros, already operates in the nonwovens sector through its Germany-based subsidiary
Andritz Küsters GmbH. With the acquisition of Rieter Perfojet, the portfolio of Andritz Küsters
will be further completed.
The famous name Küsters is associated with the Swimming Roll (S-Roll). Since it received its
patent in 1956, the roll technology has changed significantly and become further differentiated,
revolutionizing textile, nonwovens and paper manufacturing and finishing processes. Using the
deflection-controlled S-Roll, it has become possible to overcome web processes’ limitations.
In 2006, Andritz took over 100 percent of already named Andritz Küsters GmbH & Co. KG.
Andritz Küsters GmbH has some 480 employees at three locations, in Krefeld, Germany; Bülach,
Switzerland; and Spartanburg in the United States.
December 15, 2009