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A consortium of Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and ICICI Venture Funds has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% stake in Italian gear maker Metalcastello. Company officials refused to divulge details of the deal. The acquisition is part of M&M’s larger strategy to consolidate its gear business in the European market.

There were four other bidders, including a couple of European funds and an Indian industrial house along with a private equity player. The promoters of the Bologna-based Metalcastello had approached all the bidders to hike their respective quotes, which ranged between € 80 million and € 100 million. “The Bologna acquisition will bring cost benefits to M&M and help it in serving global clients,” said Systech president Hemant Luthra. Systech is M&M’s component arm.

Metalcastello has revenues of around $100 million. The company was founded in 1952 and is among the top gear manufacturers in Europe, focused primarily on the off-highway segment. Currently, financial investors hold 84.7% stake in the Italian company, of which 66.5% is held by private equity fund Development Capital, advised by Italian firm Alto Partners, while the top management holds 15.3%. Gabriele Pierotti will continue to be the CEO.

M&M shares ended 2.45% up at Rs 666.25 ahead of the announcement. The shares have fallen 3.83% in the past month.

Metalcastello, the over five-decade-old company, which began as a sub-contractor manufacturing gears and transmission shift rails in small quantities to meet customer demands, has grown to become one of the world’s leading international players.

It employs over 300 skilled workers and management staffers at Bologna.

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