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Midea takes control of Israeli motion firm, Servotronix

14 February, 2017

The Chinese appliances giant Midea has taken control of the Israeli motion control specialist Servotronix Motion Control in a transaction that is reported to value Servotronix at $170m. The deal comes shortly after Midea acquired the German robot-maker, Kuka, for €4.5m, and a week after another Chinese company, Estun Automation, bought the UK motion control specialist, Trio Motion Technology, for £15.5m.

Midea says that it has formed a “strategic relationship” with Servotronix, whose portfolio includes motion controls, encoders, servodrives, stepper motors, servomotors, and linear and rotary direct-drive motors.

Midea’s chairman and CEO, Paul Fang, says that the strategic alliance with Servotronix “represents another milestone of Midea’s expansion in industrial automation and intelligent manufacturing.

“We believe that Servotronix’ technological leadership and innovation in motion control will generate significant synergies with Midea in terms of value chain integration and new market development,” he adds. “By leveraging each other’s complementary capabilities and resources, the two companies will join forces to develop exciting new products and explore growth opportunities going forward.”

Servotronix’s founder, president and CEO, Dr Ilan Cohen, says that the alliance will provide his company with “significant leverage for our global operations and put Servotronix in a leadership position in the field of robotics, control and automation, with China being a major market in this field.

“We are proud that Midea has recognised our success, and we are confident that this strategic alliance will benefit the company, our customers and our employees,” he continues. “Servotronix will continue its operations with even more enthusiasm and strength.”

Servotronix's product portfolio includes software, PC-based hardware controls, servodrives and servomotors, and stepper motors

The alliance with Servotronix is the first collaboration of this type for Midea in Israel. Servotronix will remain at its headquarters in Petah Tikva, from where it will coordinate its global activities, including marketing, sales and product development.

Servotronix was founded in 1987, and in 1991 developed one of the world's first PC-based 48-axis motion controllers. In 1992, it developed a digital servodrive for Baldor. Three years later it was bought by Kollomorgen which was itself acquired by Danaher in 2000. In 2009, Servotronix’s management bought the business back from Danaher. In 2013, Servotronix acquired Manz Israel to form Servotronix Automation Solutions. In 2012, it added servomotors to its portfolio, followed in 2013 by a magnetic absolute encoder, and in 2014 by an integrated closed-loop servo-stepper motor. Servotronix currently employs about 200 people and has subsidiaries in China and Germany.

Midea, established in 1968, produces domestic appliances, HVAC systems, robotics and industrial automation systems. It has more than 200 subsidiaries, employs more than 130,000 people worldwide, and generated revenues of more than $17bn in the first nine months of 2016. It has identified robotics and automation as an important growth market and is stepping up its involvement in this sector.

All condition precedents of the strategic partnership between Midea and Servotronix have been satisfied and the relevant regulatory approvals have been obtained.

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