MacGregor International, a marine crane manufacturer based in Sweden, is being taken over by Kone Corporation, subject to approval from the Swedish and European Union competition authorities.

Kone has agreed to pay €186m, debt-free, to current owners Industri Kapital and Gambro 60%.

Gambro bought MacGregor in 1994 but then sold a 60% stake to venture capital company Industri Kapital in 1998.

Under Kone ownership, MacGregor will form the marine cargo handling division of Kone Cargotec, which Kone plans to float as a separate company on 1 June 2005 so that it can then re-focus on its core business of elevators and escalators. Within Kone Cargotec, MacGregor will sit alongside the Kalmar dockside handling business and the Hiab load handling operations.

MacGregor‘s 2004 net sales are expected to be Euro 370m, which will make Kone Cargotec’s group sales approximately Euro 2bn

‘The acquisition of MacGregor by Kone Cargotec is a compliment to our long history of accomplishments in the global market of marine cargo care and cargo flow solutions,’ said Hans Pettersson, MacGregor’s president & CEO. ‘By acquiring MacGregor, Kone Cargotec also expresses trust in our future professional performance.’

Kone Cargotec president Carl-Gustaf Bergström said: ‘Kone Cargotec’s strategy is to grow and maintain market leading positions globally with strong brands in all its areas of business related to the flow of goods. MacGregor is a global leader and a forerunner in its industry. MacGregor supplements Kone Cargotec’s container- and load-handling businesses Kalmar and Hiab very well. Integrating these businesses into a group of companies creates clear synergy opportunities.’

He added: ‘Other main reasons for acquiring MacGregor are its strong presence in Asia, a global service network producing after-sales revenues equal to 30% of total sales, and a business concept focusing on going downstream in the value chain, which is similar to Kone Cargotec’s strategy.’

MacGregor has also signed a co-operation agreement with Iran Shipbuilding & Offshore Industries Complex. MacGregor will provide tools, test instruments and specialists in servicing cargo handling equipment, fluid power systems and components in the repair and maintenance of ships and offshore facilities.

‘The agreement is the first step towards the development of a true partnership that targets a large share of the rapidly expanding market in the Middle East,’ said Darko Bogdanovic, MacGregor‘s regional manager for the Middle East.