Media information

Huf signs off strategic partnership with KATEK SE: Sale of SMT production in Düsseldorf

Huf Hülsbeck & Fürst, a leading supplier of locking, access and authorization solutions for the automotive industry, announced today that the company is selling its electronics manufacturing facility in Düsseldorf (Germany) to KATEK SE, an electronics group specializing in the development and manufacture of high-tech components. KATEK will take over the SMT production lines of Huf Düsseldorf with the associated service and administration functions as well as the currently 152 employees of this division. Completion of the transaction is still subject to approval by the responsible cartel authorities and should be completed by February 2020. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

"As part of our One Huf plus restructuring program, we are optimizing our global production network. With the sale of our SMT production to KATEK SE, one of Europe's leading providers of electronic manufacturing services, we are increasing our flexibility in our European production network and we are improving our competitiveness with this strategic partnership," explained Tom Graf, CEO of Huf. Huf will continue to source printed circuit boards, electronic control units and other pre-products for door handle electronics, kick sensors and other locking and access systems from KATEK in Düsseldorf. These are assembled into finished products at the Huf sites in Poland, Portugal and Romania and delivered to the car manufacturers. In North America and China Huf still has own SMT production lines.

"The takeover of the SMT production of Huf in Düsseldorf is another milestone in our expansion strategy. The excellent production facilities and above all the know-how of the employees are a good addition to our production network, which is focused on proximity to our customers," said Rainer Koppitz, CEO of KATEK, explaining the acquisition. "We will quickly integrate this new location into our group of companies and plan not only to supply automotive customers such as Huf with our high-tech components in the medium term, but also to use these capacities for our other customers in telecommunications, medical and measurement technology and other industries. By working across industries, we make ourselves independent of market fluctuations and can further expand our product and customer portfolio in a targeted manner. Thanks to increased capacity utilization and the resulting synergies, for example in purchasing, we see sustainable prospects for this location," says Rainer Koppitz.

The mainly manual assembly of semi-finished products from Huf, which is also located at the Düsseldorf site, will be relocated to the Romanian site in Arad in the coming months for cost reasons. "After an intensive analysis of the assembly processes in Düsseldorf, it became clear that we could not reduce costs to the extent necessary to offer these products at competitive prices," explained Huf CEO Graf. "We regret that job cuts in assembly are unavoidable. Since we will presumably not start relocating until September 2020, we will in the meantime support the employees affected by the job cuts in their professional reorientation. In addition, we will work together with the employee representatives to develop socially acceptable solutions in order to avoid social hardship as far as possible in the event of enforced redundancies," Graf emphasized.

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Michael Gorissen

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