Assa Abloy May Buy All of Agta After Stake Purchase, Chief Executive Says

Assa Abloy AB the world’s largest maker of locks, said its 100 million-euro ($139 million) purchase of a minority stake in Groupe Agta Record may be a prelude to a full-blown merger with its Swiss rival.

Assa Abloy agreed to pay 25 euros a share to acquire 32.9 percent of the automatic door-systems maker, the Stockholm-based company said today in a statement. The seller of the 4.4 million shares is Somfy SA. The price is 46 percent higher than Agta’s closing price on Oct. 15.

“We’re interested in possibly merging the two companies in the long term,” Chief Executive Officer Johan Molin said in a phone interview today.

Molin said Agta complements Assa Abloy’s existing division supplying electronic entrance systems for hotels and other buildings. Assa Abloy is interested in buying more shares in Agta, which has 1,700 employees and annual sales of 222 million euros, though there is no immediate plan to take full control, Molin said.

Assa Abloy is maintaining its long-term strategy of adding some 5 percent to revenue each year through acquisitions, Molin said. The CEO said in an interview in May that the company had already exceeded that target.

Agta soared as much as 30 percent, the most since May 1998, and traded up 25 percent at 21.20 euros in Paris trading as of 10:16 a.m. Assa Abloy fell 0.8 percent to 167.20 kronor in Stockholm.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ola Kinnander in Stockholm at okinnander@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net.

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