by Christoph Rauwald
German engineering group Robert Bosch GmbH plans to sell its packaging technology division that generated 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in sales last year to focus on its core business.
The main pharmaceutical and food-packaging operations have insufficient synergies with the manufacturer’s other areas and can compete more effectively outside the group, Bosch said Friday in an emailed statement. It will keep Robert Bosch Manufacturing Solutions, a smaller part of the business that makes machinery for Bosch’s own automotive business.
“The decision enables Bosch to focus more on future topics like the transformation of the group and the alignment toward future digitalization, like the internet of things,” Bosch board member Stefan Hartung said in the statement. The packaging technology unit and Bosch “will both benefit from this decision,” he said.
Bosch, also the world’s largest car-parts maker, embarked on a major overhaul of its sprawling operations under Chief Executive Officer Volkmar Denner to tap growth in areas like electric and self-driving vehicles as well as the so-called Internet of things. The revamp led to the sale of a turbo systems joint venture with Mahle GmbH last year and a complex carve-out of the starter motors unit that was finalized six months ago.
Bosch’s packaging technology unit is headquartered in Waiblingen near the group’s global headquarters outside Stuttgart. It has 6,100 employees in 15 countries. The business develops and produces machinery for the pharmaceuticals, food and confectionery industries. Bosch also makes a range of products from coffee machines and refrigerators to power tools.
Hartung said in a conference call with reporters that Bosch intends to sell the packaging technology business as a whole to a single buyer and anticipates the sale process to take just over a year. The company hasn’t held exploratory talks with any potential buyer so far and it’s expected that the future owner will keep its 6,100 employees, he said.