Kobe Steel, Ltd. announces that it acquired Swedish company Quintus Technologies AB, the world leader in isostatic presses, from private shareholders led by U.S. private equity firm Milestone Partners on April 5. The purchase price was US$115 million (about 13 billion yen). Quintus is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Kobe Steel.
Isostatic presses (IP) apply high pressure from all directions at high temperature or room temperature to press-sinter and form metal, ceramic and carbon materials. The presses are widely applicable in the manufacture of high-performance products, such as aircraft parts, power generation turbine blades and semiconductor materials.
Quintus Technologies, headquartered in Västerås, Sweden, is the world’s top manufacturer of isostatic presses. It has achieved a strong presence in Europe, United States and China, primarily in the aerospace sector, which is anticipated to grow.
Under its medium-term management plan, Kobe Steel’s Machinery Business aims to increase the profitability of its Industrial Machinery Division, including the IP business. Kobe Steel’s IP business is a relatively high-profit business within the Industrial Machinery Division. However over the past five years, IP sales, centered on Japan and the Asian market, have remained at about 3 billion yen a year, and market expansion has been an issue.
The acquisition of Quintus enables Kobe Steel to broaden its lineup of IP products and enter new growth markets. Furthermore, Kobe Steel expects to benefit from the interchange of product menus and from the synergy of manufacturing efficiency and cost reductions through the joint procurement of parts. Targeting the world market, Kobe Steel plans to significantly expand its IP business.
Headquarters: Västerås, Sweden
Plants: Västerås, Sweden and Columbus, Ohio, USA
CEO: Jan Söderström
Established: 1940 (formerly the IP business unit of ABB)
Business: Manufacture, sale and service of isostatic presses and sheet metal forming equipment
Sales: 2015: US$51 million (5.9 billion yen), 2016: US$61 million (7 billion yen)
About isostatic presses
An isostatic press is a type of press that applies equal pressure from all directions (isostatic pressure) to compress material. The process makes it possible to manufacture products of outstanding quality in terms of uniformity, strength and durability. A hot isostatic press (HIP) applies high pressure, with a gas as the pressure medium, and high temperature. A cold isostatic press (CIP) uses liquid pressure to apply isostatic pressure to the material.
About Kobe Steel
Kobe Steel, Ltd. is a diversified corporation with businesses in the three core areas of materials, machinery and electric power. The materials businesses include steel, welding, aluminum and copper. The machinery businesses consist of industrial machinery, construction machinery and engineering. Electric power supply is the third core business. Kobe Steel has head offices in Kobe and Tokyo, Japan. The Kobe Steel Group, consisting of Kobe Steel and its numerous subsidiaries and affiliates, has over 36,000 employees.