4.6 Acquisitions and alliances

Foundation of a company with Voltas in India

The KION Group and Voltas Ltd. agreed to establish an Indian company to develop, manufacture, sell and service forklift trucks and warehouse trucks. It went into operation in May 2011 and is called Voltas Material Handling. As part of the transaction, Voltas incorporated its forklift truck and warehouse technology business into the new company, in which the KION Group holds a majority stake.

Voltas is the sixth brand in the KION Group and focuses primarily on India's high-volume market. Its product range includes diesel, gas and electric forklift trucks with load capacities of between 1.5 and 16 tonnes. In July 2011, Voltas commenced operations at a new plant in Pune (India) with the aim of better meeting the strong demand in this market. Voltas Material Handling intends to use its network of 25 branches and authorised dealers to exploit the future potential of one of the world's most attractive markets and, as part of the KION Group, to strength its market position considerably.

Acquisition of further shares in Baoli in China

In 2011, the KION Group acquired further shares in the Chinese company KION Baoli (Baoli), which is based in Jingjiang. The KION Group had established Baoli with Jiangsu Shangqi Group (formerly Jiangsu Baoli Group) and Jingjiang Baoli Forklift in January 2009. Baoli has been under the complete management control of the KION Group since 2010. Having acquired a further stake in Baoli in 2011 of 5.34 per cent, the KION Group now controls 97.34 per cent of the company. The Baoli brand occupies a global position in the economy segment and is helping drive the KION Group's rapid expansion into the world's emerging markets. Baoli's product range encompasses IC trucks, electric forklift trucks and warehouse trucks with loading capacities of between 1 and 10 tonnes. Its extensive distribution and service network serves customers in all provinces of China and in 80 other countries.

Expansion of sales footprint in eastern Europe

The KION Group aims to expand its presence in the emerging markets. With this in mind, the Linde Material Handling subsidiary acquired the business of its dealer partner Liftec in Russia in September 2011, thereby gaining well-established direct access to the fast-growing Russian market. Linde had been working successfully with Liftec in Russia for the previous 20 years. This means that, like STILL, Linde also now has its own distribution and service structure in Russia.

With sales of more than 23,000 new trucks in 2011, Russia is Europe's fastest-growing market and has become the fifth largest European market for industrial trucks in a very short space of time. Linde also wants to step up its activities in Ukraine and Kazakhstan and took over Liftec's business in Kazakhstan in February 2012; a similar transaction in Ukraine is planned for summer 2012.

Boost to market position in the United Kingdom

In June 2011, Linde Material Handling acquired the outstanding 51 per cent of shares in its UK-based dealer Linde Sterling. Linde Sterling is one of the largest exclusive dealers of Linde products in the United Kingdom. For the past 30 years it has been successfully supplying new and used trucks, rental trucks and related services in north-west England and north Wales. It employed around 300 people at its four sites at the end of 2011. In December 2011, Linde Material Handling also acquired the outstanding 25.5 per cent of shares in Linde Castle Ltd. and now holds 100 per cent of the shares either directly or indirectly. These acquisitions have boosted Linde's market position and customer service activities in the United Kingdom.

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