Oerlikon Considers Strategic Options for Vacuum Pumps Unit

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Swiss manufacturer OC Oerlikon AG is examining strategic options for its vacuum pumps division as the company tries to bolster profitability. The stock gained the most in two months.

A decision is still pending as it’s “too early to make any statement regarding specific directions,” the Pfaeffikon, Switzerland-based company said in a statement Tuesday in response to speculation regarding Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum. The company is preparing to sell the unit, Reuters reported earlier today, adding that the division may be valued at 350 million euros ($385 million) to 400 million euros.

A sale of the vacuum pumps division, whose products are used in food packaging and electronics manufacturing, would allow Oerlikon to focus on more profitable businesses. The company, whose main shareholder is Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, set about reviewing its strategy last month.

The company’s shares rose as much as 3.4 percent to 12.25 francs in Zurich, the biggest gain since July 14 and valuing the company at 4.1 billion francs ($4.3 billion).

The vacuum business has about 1,500 employees globally and generated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization representing 10.3 percent of its 381 million euros in sales last year. That compared with a companywide margin of 16 percent on 3.2 billion euros of sales.

The bunit counts Atlas Copco AB, Ingersoll-Rand Plc and Pfeiffer among its competitors, and has clients such as Siemens, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva and General Electric Co.

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