Acquisitions, moves, contracts, pandemic responses and more

Delivery robots; photo by Woowa Brothers

Prysmian Group to Acquire EHC Global

Prysmian Group announced on July 22 it will acquire 100% of EHC Global, “a complementary add-on to Prysmian’s Draka` Elevator business.” Draka offers more than 7,000 components for the vertical-transportation (VT) industry and generated more than EUR250 million (US$289.3 million) in revenue in 2019. Draka products can be found in iconic skyscrapers, including those in Hudson Yards in NYC, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and The Shard in London. Headquartered in Oshawa, Canada, with manufacturing and distribution facilities in North America, South America, Europe and China, EHC Global, a supplier of escalator handrails and other VT components, generated revenue of CAD119 million (US$88.5 million) and realized earnings exceeding CAD18 million (US$13.39 million) in 2019. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Stephenson Joins Wittur as CEO

The Wittur Group has appointed Tom Stephenson CEO. Stephenson has more than 15 years’ upper-level management experience and “a deep customer and product orientation within a global manufacturing context,” according to Wittur. Prior to joining the company, Stephenson led various organizations around the world. In 2009, he became CEO of Dal Group Ltd., the largest conglomerate in Sudan. Prior to that, he was director of group revenue for Avis Europe. Most recently, Stephenson served as CEO at GZ Industries, a sub-Saharan Africa aluminum beverage can manufacturer. He holds a degree in Economics and International Relations from the University of Birmingham in the U.K., as well as an MBA from INSEAD.

thyssenkrupp Elevator

Acquisition Complete; thyssenkrupp Elevator Now Independent

The acquisition of thyssenkrupp Elevator by private-equity firms Advent International and Cinven is complete, with all relevant regulatory authorities approving the transaction, thyssenkrupp Elevator announced on July 31. “The successful closing marks a new chapter in our history,” CEO Peter Walker said. “Together with our new owners, we will further strengthen our position as an independent, Germany-based elevator and escalator company.” Advent and Cinven said they aim to grow thyssenkrupp Elevator through organic growth; carefully targeted acquisitions, particularly in Asia; energy- efficient product development; and R&D. With operations worldwide and more than 50,000 employees, thyssenkrupp Elevator had sales of EUR8 billion (US$9.4 billion) in 2018-2019. Service is its most important business, with approximately 1.4 million units under maintenance and more than 24,000 service technicians globally. Its stable service business allowed thyssenkrupp Elevator to “demonstrate its fundamental resilience” throughout the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as it “ensured ongoing mobility in. . . healthcare facilities and public buildings.”

Winnipeg Elevator Acquired, Local Contract Won

Thyssenkrupp Elevator Canada has acquired maintenance and modernization contractor Winnipeg Elevator Group (WEG), the company announced in July. With a portfolio of about 1,000 elevators, escalators, stairlifts and dumbwaiters, WEG has been serving the Winnipeg area for more than 50 years. Thyssenkrupp said it would retain the 23 staffers and most of the WEG ownership team. WEG, with a warehouse and fleet of service vehicles, offers regular maintenance, repair and 24-hr emergency service.

In another development, thyssenkrupp won a contract to modernize 12 elevators at 201 Portage, the tallest building in Winnipeg and in the province of Manitoba. The contract includes service for these units, plus the 33-story, 128-m-tall building’s two escalators and four other elevators, adding a total 18 units to the company’s service portfolio.

Germany Headquarters Relocation

Thyssenkrupp Elevator also announced in July that it will move its Germany headquarters in the first quarter of 2021 from Essen to Düsseldorf, the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia. The OEM will occupy more than 9,000 m2 in the Wings Building, which is owned by Commerz Real and near the Düsseldorf International Airport. There will also be 500 m2 of outdoor space where colleagues can meet and exchange ideas. thyssenkrupp Elevator CEO Peter Walker said:

“The relocation reflects our independence as a global company. Moreover, it provides us with the opportunity to create headquarters that are precisely designed to meet the criteria of a modern and efficient globally operating company, while giving us the chance to open up many new perspectives regarding the way of working for our employees.”

Hyundai Elevator

Delivery Robot MOU Signed With Baemin

Earlier this year, Hyundai Elevator signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Baemin, one of South Korea’s top delivery apps, agreeing to advance elevator-delivery robot connectivity. Observing the delivery-robot market is projected to grow due to increased demand for touchless technology in the COVID-19 era, Hyundai and Baemin plan to launch pilot programs at two locations: a hotel and a business. “Previously, autonomous robot services mainly operated on flat surface areas, but connected elevator technology allows services to be provided in all areas of a building,” Hyundai Elevator CEO Song Seung-bong said. “Hyundai Elevator will proceed with development of robot-exclusive elevators and private maintenance plans.”

Domestic Business Strong in 2020

Hyundai Elevator reported strong new and modernization business across the country in the first half of 2020, citing a “strong will to stand up to challenges” of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its summer 2020 newsletter, Hyundai Elevator shared details of major contracts, including:

  • Lotte Castle, which will include the tallest building in the Dongdaemun-gu area of Seoul: 99 elevators traversing 65 above- and eight below-ground floors within five buildings. Installation is anticipated in 2023.
  • Buildings of varying heights at 12 sites across the country for Daelim Industrial Co.: 384 elevators with options such as foot activation. Installation dates vary.
  • Deajeon iPark City in Daejeon: 77 elevators traversing 35 above- and two below-ground floors in 25 buildings. Installation is anticipated in January 2021.
  • Grand Hyatt Hotel modernization in Seoul: four elevators serving 20 floors. Completion is anticipated in February 2021.
  • Booyoung Housing developments at 18 sites throughout western Korea: 269 elevators modernized by the end of 2020.

Avire Looks at Elevator Safety Measures During COVID-19

Global elevator safety and communications provider Avire is developing technologies aimed at improving passenger safety during COVID-19 and has provided social-distancing tips for property managers as buildings reopen. Observing that, in some cases, an elevator rated to carry 20 passengers will now only be able to carry two, the company stated that “understanding how many passengers are in a lift at any one time, and whether passengers are following social-distancing guidelines, will become crucial pieces of data to analyze the effectiveness of social-distancing policies.” Tips for property managers include considering making elevators the “up” route, and stairs the “down” route (for those who are physically able); splitting elevators into either “up” or “down” service; and using removable button covers, rather than cleaning products, which can short-circuit electronics.

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Elevator World | September 2020 Cover