GF Mettman robotic pouring GF Casting Solutions
Georg Fischer completed a new, $46.5-million production line at its ductile iron foundry in Mettmann, Germany in 2012, centering on robotic pouring.

GF Divests Ductile Iron Foundries

Managers buy two German plants, as the group puts new emphasis on aluminum and magnesium castings production

GF Casting Solutions, the metalcasting subsidiary of the Georg Fischer Group, is citing the automotive lightweighting trend in its decision to sell to iron foundries. The plants at Mettmann and Singen, Germany, will be sold to a new company established by a group of GF Casting Solutions executives, who according to GF “will continue all operating activities at the facilities.”

“The fast-growing demand for aluminum and magnesium castings worldwide calls for a sustained increase of our presence in this sector,” according to the GFCS announcement.

The new owners, called Fondium B.V. & Co. KG, will be headquartered at Mettmann, and headed by Achim Schneider, Arnd Potthoff, and Matthias Blumentrath.  GF will retain a 20% stake in the new business during an ownership transition period.

“With Fondium we create an agile, owner-operated automotive supplier with a clear market focus. We are looking forward to create a successful future together with our 2,000 employees,” stated Schneider, one of the new owners.

Both the sellers and the buyers have agreed not to disclose the sale price, according to GF. It noted that the transaction is "profit neutral."

The Mettmann foundry was established over 100 years ago, and produces up to 200,000 metric tons/year of ductile iron automotive and commercial vehicle parts, including longitudinal bearings, steering knuckles, suspension arms, camshafts, rear-axle casings, and wheel hubs. A robotized pouring line was the centerpiece of an update program completed in 2012.

The Singen foundry had been the largest in the GF portfolio, producing ductile-iron steering knuckles, transverse links, wheel hubs, brake calipers, and other high-stress parts cast for car and truck manufacturers. A new molding line was completed there in 2015.

GF Casting Solutions continues to operate plants at Altenmarkt and Herzogenburg, Austrial; Leipzig and Werdohl, Germany; Pitesti (two plants) and Scornicesti, Romania; and Kunshan and Suzhou, China. It’s also a co-investor in the GF Linamar high-pressure aluminum diecasting plant in Mills River, SC.

Earlier this year the division purchased Precicast Industrial Holding SA, an investment casting and additive manufacturing operation based in Novazzano, Switzerland. Precicast’s product line includes aerospace engine and industrial gas turbine parts, which precipitated changing the name of the business from GF Automotive to GF Casting Solutions.

That expanded market focus continues now with the sale of the ductile iron operations.

“The reshaping of its portfolio will allow GF Casting Solutions to better leverage opportunities in light vehicle structures and aircraft engine components,” stated Georg Fischer CEO Yves Serra. “With Fondium we found a partner whose owners have an extensive expertise in the casting business, able to ensure continuity for our customers and secure the further development of the two companies outside of GF.”

The group emphasized that the "portfolio reshaping and the resulting regional footprint adaptation" are in line with GF's 2020 strategy."

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