Siemens’ decision to spinoff its Electronics Assembly Systems division puts at least three big-name placement OEMs in play, including Universal Instruments and Assembleon. (And no, I don’t have any insider knowledge about UIC; it’s just an educated guess.)
Today, EAS chief executive Guenter Lauber positioned the announcement as good for the unit, and I would tend to agree in that it’s better to be on your own than a virtual orphan within a conglomerate.
Finding a buyer won’t be easy, however, as the market for placement equipment OEMs is, in a word, dry, and the unit’s large workforce in Germany — some 1,000-plus — means that in addition to making the usual wrenching decisions about restructuring, any acquirer will have to grapple with Germany’s stringent labor laws. For that, among other reasons, the one company that has been most active of late is the one I wouldn’t bet on making a bid: ITW.