Vekselberg Wins Control of Oerlikon

VedomostiVekselberg's Renova now controls 39.1 percent of Oerlikon's voting rights.
ZURICH -- Renova Industries, owned by billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, took control of Oerlikon, the world's largest maker of spinning machines, by reaching an agreement with its former main shareholder, Victory Industriebeteiligung.

Georg Stumpf, co-owner of Victory, will step down as chairman of the Swiss company, Oerlikon said in an e-mailed statement Friday.

Renova said in a separate statement that it now controls 39.1 percent of Oerlikon's voting rights after buying a 6.5 stake from Victory and settling a dispute over call options.

The power struggle between the two investors started with Oerlikon's plan to force investors with more than a one-third stake to bid for the whole business.

"The parties further agreed that at the upcoming shareholders' meeting, they will support a joint position as regards the composition of the board of directors and the proposed changes in the company's articles of association," Renova said in the statement.

Renova and Victory now form a group, which will be reflected by the respective disclosure notification, Renova said.


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Victory, which owns a 26.3 stake according to Oerlikon, gained control of the Swiss company and ousted the board with a 34 percent stake in 2005 without having to bid for the rest of the shares.

Last week, Oerlikon blocked an attempt by Vekselberg to increase his stake before the shareholder vote on the board's plan Tuesday.

Oerlikon had refused to register shares purchased by Vekselberg's Renova, saying there was not a "sufficiently secure legal basis" to do so. More than 10 percent of the company's share capital was affected by the decision, Oerlikon said.

Renova said April 22 that it exercised a call option issued by Victory, equal to a 7.6 percent stake in Oerlikon. Victory said it informed the company and the Swiss Stock Exchange that the exercise of the option was invalid because "material conditions" were not met.

n Former ABB and Sulzer chief executive Fred Kindle has been asked to head a company Vekselberg will create by combining Sulzer, Rieter Holding, and Oerlikon, Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday.

Michael Pieper, a shareholder in Forbo Holding, is also involved in the transaction, the Swiss newspaper said, citing four sources it did not identify. Forbo bought 5 percent of Rieter on May 8.

Rieter, Sulzer and Oerlikon together have more than 46,000 employees, 13 billion francs ($12.5 billion) in annual sales and 800 million francs in profit, the report said.

Renova spokesman Markus Blume was not immediately available for comment and Oerlikon spokesman Burkhard BЪndel declined to comment.