The acquisition of Precision Technologies Group by Hong Kong-listed Chongqing Machinery and Electric Co (CQME) was marked on 28 July by an official ceremony held at PTG's Milnrow, Lancs, headquarters. The actual acquisition had been finalised on 15 July and the choice of celebration date, 28, was no accident – 8 is a lucky number in China. The Precision Technologies Group companies transferred to CQME are: Holroyd Precision Ltd; Precision Components Ltd; PTG Heavy Industries Ltd (Binns & Berry and Crawford Swift brands); PTG Advanced Developments Ltd; Milnrow Investments Ltd; and PTG Deutschland GmbH – see box item for details of acquired companies. Jones and Shipman International, which had been part of PTG, has been acquired by Hardinge Inc and is now part of its Kellenberger operation. PTG itself was formed in December 2006 by a group of private equity investors to harness the strengths of a portfolio of respected British machine tool brands, such as Holroyd and Jones & Shipman. Image: Holroyd Precision makes machines to make parts like these and Precision Components makes parts like these on such machines Image: A Horlroyd machine making a screw-type part Image: A deep hole boring machine, one of the product areas covered by PTG Heavy Industries USUAL QUESTIONS Following initial news of CQME's purchase offer, the usual questions about security of employment and loss of technology to a foreign company were raised, but, in a statement released by PTG following the ceremony, it is emphasised that: "CQME's aim is to establish a strong foothold in international markets and it views this acquisition as a significant statement of intent. The combined group will continue to invest in and develop the technology, intellectual property and 'know-how' of the UK businesses to create products to meet the market's ever more demanding requirements. Existing manufacturing facilities, services and supply chains in the UK will be maintained and developed, and all staff of the UK companies have transferred to the new group." At the ceremony, CQME chairman Xie Huajun was quoted as saying: "Often when people take over a business, they shrink it, but we have no intention of doing that. Quite the contrary, we will use PTG as an international arm of our business, not just in Europe, but worldwide, to tap into new markets." Indeed, in its official statement, CQME says it "sees the opportunity to add value and complementary products to an already extensive product range by harnessing, for example, the highly developed technologies of Holroyd Precision to enter new markets in the global precision gear manufacturing sector". Prior to the ceremony, when the sale was announced, CQME had this to say about the purchase: "[It is a] strategic move" intended to "improve the technical know-how of Chongqing, reinforce the capability of technical development of relevant enterprises of the company, expand its business scale and enhance its profile". That the ceremony of the 28 July was one of celebration was underlined by the fact that the Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Zulfiqar Ali, was also in attendance. WHO'S CQME? So, who and what is CQME? Thomson Reuter says it designs, manufactures and sells commercial vehicle parts and components, power equipment, general machinery and CNC machine tools, including gear production equipment. It operates in seven segments: engines; gear boxes; hydroelectric generation equipment; electrical wires and cables; general machinery; machinery tools; and high voltage transformers. It has a number of subsidiaries in China. Image: A CQME gear hobbing machine Image: A CQME dry-cutting gear hobbing machine Although Hong Kong-listed since 2008, it is owned by a number of state-owned enterprises, the largest of which is Chongqing Machinery & Electronic Holding (Group) Co Ltd, established in 2000. Located in Chongqing, around 1,000 miles west and 150 miles south of Shanghai, CQME has an annual turnover in excess of $1 billion, which makes the £20 million investment for PTG look more than affordable for the company. According to an East Asia Securities Company report of May 2008, over 19 per cent of CQME's turnover was generated by the manufacture and sale of CNC machine tools. The acquired PTG companies sit within Chongqing Machine tools (CQMT), in fact. The largest proportion of sales, almost 37 per cent, was generated by power equipment, it reveals. CQME's stated strategy, following this acquisition, comprises these defined elements: [] Accelerate and upgrade the businesses to transform growth [] Accelerate project construction, to upgrade core technology and production capacity [] Accelerate R&D of high value-added products to improve profitability [] Expedite capital operation and actively promote joint ventures, co-operation, mergers and acquisitions [] Enhance market analysis and forecasts to explore new opportunities. Personnel changes and movements announced following the ceremony see Dr Tony Bannan, previously chief operating officer of PTG and, prior to that, group managing director of the machine tool businesses, become CEO; Don Whittle is made group HR director, and Ian Emery is appointed CFO. Rod Macdonald, Carl Griffiths and Colin Carr are appointed managing directors of Holroyd, PTG Heavy Industries and PTG Precision Components, respectively, while Dr Chris Holmes becomes general manager of the group's Advanced Developments Division. Box item The acquired businesses Precision Components is a substantial manufacturer of technically difficult parts, such as helical screw rotor components, metering pumps, super-charger rotors (automotive/marine), precision gears, gas/air compression screws and refrigeration components, both sub-contract and 'own' design. It serves many industries, including aero, auto, marine, mould and tool, medical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), oil and gas, power generation and petrochemical. Its remit includes: design, consultancy, project management, manufacturing, sales, marketing and distribution. Holroyd Precision was founded in 1861 and manufactures CNC machine tools and full manufacturing systems for the production of, for example, rotor and gear components. Its remit includes design, consultancy, project management, manufacturing, rebuilding/retrofitting, sales, marketing and distribution. PTG Heavy Industries is primarily concerned with Binns & Berry and Crawford Swift brands. Its remit includes design, consultancy, project management, manufacturing, rebuilding/retrofitting, sales, marketing and distribution. Binns & Berry was founded in 1898 and is a global brand. It specialises in the design and manufacture of large capacity CNC lathes and deep hole boring machines, with component capacities of up to 15 tonnes and over 25 m in length. Applications can be found in oil and gas, mineral extractions and mining, steel and rolling mills, paper, plastics and textile production. Sister brand Crawford Swift, founded in 1863, focuses on the development and manufacture of high quality CNC machining systems for large cylindrical shafts and rolls, used in the continuous production of products in petrochemicals, mining, power generation, steel mills and bulk paper. Crawford Swift can precision-manufacture components weighing in at up to 500 tonnes, both by turning and through cylindrical grinding solutions. PTG Advanced Developments is the R&D and product innovation centre of the PTG businesses. It supplies and co-ordinates both basic and applied research, and provides the opportunity for the other businesses in the group to continually develop their products and services. Future plans will see the expansion of the activities of PTG Advanced Developments, offering a wide-ranging R&D resource for all the CQME/CQMT companies. This company's remit includes consultancy, project management, and sales and marketing support to the other companies in the group. PTG Deutschland GmbH is the company's German subsidiary, which primarily supports the sales and marketing activities of the UK businesses in the European markets. Milnrow Investments is the subsidiary company that manages the property, land and buildings of HPL and PCL, which pay rent for the use of these facilities to Milnrow Investments. First published in Machinery, September 2010