Mühlhäuser asset buyouts 06 Feb 2020

TunnelTalk reporting

Status of Mühlhäuser company assets has become clearer with acquisition of separate divisions. Mining Equipment of the USA has acquired unspecified elements of the company and in December 2019 Bauer Group confirmed its buyout of the subsidiary Mühlhäuser-Obermann. It is not known how ownership by Mühlhäuser of the NFM TBM business since February 2019 is to be resolved. It is known that no part of NFM is part of the deal with Bauer MAT or with Mining Equipment, leaving NFM and its future in limbo.

With acquisition of Mühlhäuser, Mining Equipment, which designs and manufactures locomotives, rolling stock, and ventilation equipment, aims to build a presence in the European market. Expanding its available inventory with the Mühlhäuser product range will be supported by the company’s expertise in design, regional experience and engineering knowhow. “We are ready to build a reputation in the European market,” said Mining Equipment Co-President Matt Pope. “This is a great opportunity to do what we do best in a new market and to prove ourselves to new customers, one project at a time.” Terms and value of the acquisition is undisclosed.

The deal establishes the first European office for Mining Equipment in Breuberg, Germany, about 50km south of Frankfurt. Paul Zeder and Marco Langnickle have been hired from Mühlhäuser to lead the European operations and as the design engineer respectively. Together, they bring 37 years of worldwide experience to the new venture.

Mühlhäuser, with a 110-year history, is a recognised innovator and supplier of rail-bound and trackless materials transportation, and equipment for concrete, grout and related applications. Mühlhäuser innovations include the one side self-discharger and the rota-dump muck cars, both of which have been used on projects around the world. With its rolling stock and ventilation interests, Mining Equipment also has a large inventory of mine hoists and stage winches used in shaft construction.

Mining Equipment loco and muck cars in action
Mining Equipment loco and muck cars in action
Mühlhäuser operations on the Channel Tunnel
Mühlhäuser operations on the Channel Tunnel

Asset acquisitions

The Bauer Group acquisition of Mühlhäuser-Obermann will operate in future under the name Obermann MAT. Mühlhäuser acquired the Obermann portfolio of injection and grouting technology in January 2015. "We are pleased that the company can stay in Michelstadt and will be welcoming 15 new colleagues to the Bauer Group," said Alexander Konz, Branch Manager of Bauer MAT Slurry Handling Systems, a subsidiary of Bauer Maschinen.

In August 2019 it was reported that SMT Scharf was considering the acquisition of Mühlhäuser-Obermann, alongside its sister company Karl H Mühlhäuser GmbH & Co KG. The takeover, however, was dependent on the results of insolvency proceedings and in October SMT Scharf announced that after an assessment, it would no longer be pursuing the acquisition. When approached by TunnelTalk, the company said that it did not want to comment on the exact background.

Fate of NFM TBMs

Bauer MAT Slurry Handling Systems was formed in April 2008 when MAT Mixing Plant Technology was incorporated into Bauer Machinery GmbH. At the time the company announced that it had plans to further expand its core business and acquisition of the Obermann injection pumps, mixers and jet grouting equipment, to the Bauer offering and are sold exclusively by Bauer MAT Slurry Handling Systems.

NFM TBM ready for Tideway in UK
NFM TBM ready for Tideway in UK

Mühlhäuser acquired French TBM manufacturer NFM Technologies in February 2019. NFM had been in financial difficulty since the insolvency of its principal shareholder, NHI Heavy Industries of China, in 2016. The Mühlhäuser acquisition comprised the NFM brand, the intellectual property, the manufacturing plant at Le Creusot, the stock of components and a staff of 82 people. As a separate undertaking NFM Technologies made 15 buy-back TBMs available for resale and appointed KPMG to assist in the sale of these machines.

As part of the current Mühlhäuser liquidation process, it is unclear how the service of operating NFM TBMs will continue. NFM machines are currently working on the Semmering Baseline railway tunnel project in Austria, the Tideway sewer project in London, UK, the Paris Metro and the Lyon-Turin high speed railway project between France and Italy.


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