London 1 March 2019 - British group, Liberty, owned by industrialist Sanjeev Gupta has won its bid to secure the future of France’s second largest vehicle converter Durisotti and its 200-strong workforce.
A ruling today by the court of administration in Arras, in the French region of Hauts de France, means that Liberty – part of the GFG Alliance – will take on the company’s three sites at Sallaumines in Hauts de France, Agen in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Metz in France’s Grand Est region. In doing so Liberty’s aim will be to shore up the business’ order books, diversify its product offering and grow its customer base.
The acquisition marks the latest step in GFG’s strategy to build an integrated value chain in France. Since entering the French market in May 2018, the GFG Alliance has established itself as a major industrial player by acquiring France’s only manufacturer of aluminium wheels AR Industries – now Liberty Wheels France - and Europe’s largest aluminium smelter Aluminium Dunkerque.
Founded in 1956, Durisotti is now France’s second largest vehicle converter specialising in light commercial vehicle conversions (vehicles of up to 3.5 tonnes) for a variety of sectors including law enforcement, people and goods transport, waste services, postal services and disabled transport. Since the business implemented a recovery plan in 2013, it has been working to enhance revenues, improve margins and develop new product ranges. The company now boasts an growing order book, converting some 17,000 vehicles annually and employs around 200 people across its three sites.
Speaking about today’s ruling, GFG Alliance’s Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta said:
“This is an important step in GFG’s French journey and I am delighted to welcome Durisotti’s highly skilled and motivated workforce to the GFG family. Over the past year we have established ourselves across both upstream and downstream activities in France, putting down roots in one of Europe’s most established and renowned industrial economies. Durisotti will help us bolster and diversify our downstream presence in the automotive sector joining our other French businesses in our vertically integrated value chain. I look forward to meeting our new colleagues and helping them to build the bright future they so richly deserve.”
Chief Executive of Liberty Industries Group Dr Douglas Dawson added:
“This is a great result for all concerned and a further expansion of our horizons in France. Our goal when we first invested in France was to establish a sustainable, vertically integrated and strategic supply chain to the engineering and auto sectors. By joining the GFG stable, Durisotti helps move us a step closer to becoming a key sustainer of French manufacturing.”
Chief Operating Officer Mainland Europe of Liberty Engineering, Philippe Baudon, said:
“We are very pleased with the court’s decision. This acquisition is entirely consistent with our business model based on adding value at every point of the supply chain and retaining skills and expertise. The know-how of Durisotti and the determination and effort their people have already put in to start turning their fortunes around are all credits to them. I’m delighted that this deal also has the backing of the employees and I’m looking forward to working with them to help them carry on towards realising the full potential of the business.
“We’d like to thank all the interested parties who’ve been involved in the process, including the staff and their representatives, the court administrators and French authorities – all of whom adopted a positive and constructive approach which has led to today’s successful outcome.”
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