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Oerlikon Appoints Former EADS Executive to Head Vacuum Division

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- OC Oerlikon AG, the Swiss maker of textile-machinery, ousted its vacuum unit head and appointed a former executive of Voith GmbH and European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co. to restore flagging margins.

Martin Fuellenbach, the former head of Voith Turbo, has been mandated to deliver a “growth oriented business plan” as well as review the unit’s cost structure, Pfaeffikon-based Oerlikon said in a statement today. He replaces Andreas Widl, who left the company.

The appointment of Fuellenbach, who held senior positions at EADS in France, Spain and Germany, coincides with narrowing margins from sales of vacuums, used in food packaging and solar equipment. The process to find a replacement for Widl stated more than a month ago and the final decision was taken just a couple of days ago, spokesman Burkhard Boendel said by phone.

“This move again shows that Oerlikon’s new management is persistently working on optimising the company’s structures through changes in the management and business portfolio adjustments,” said Christoph Ladner, an analyst at Kepler Capital Markets.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Buscher said June 7 he’d take decisive action on units that fall short of profit targets, as he shifts his focus to the enhancing divisions after renegotiating a credit facility.

First-half vacuum sales dropped 9 percent as projects were postponed because of China’s depressed solar market. Margins at the unit dropped by 3.7 percentage points. It accounted for 10 percent of Oerlikon’s 4.2 billion francs ($4.4 billion) sales last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net

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

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