Investor news

Zumtobel Group sells Thorn Airfield Lighting to the Safegate Group

· Zumtobel Group successfully completes sale of Thorn Airfield Lighting
· Concentration on core competencies of the Zumtobel Group

Dornbirn, Austria – Effective November 1, 2006, the Zumtobel Group sold the airfield lighting activities of Thorn Lighting (Thorn AFL) to the Swedish airport guidance and docking systems specialist Safegate. Thorn AFL is a division of Thorn Lighting specialising in the manufacture and sales of airfield ground lighting. Thorn Lighting is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of professional indoor and outdoor lighting systems and a member of the international Zumtobel Group of lighting companies.

Zumtobel and Safegate have agreed to treat the value of the deal in confidence.

Commenting on the sale of Thorn AFL, Zumtobel Group CEO Dr Andreas Ludwig said: “In order to remain successful in the airfield lighting sector, in future the lighting package will increasingly need to be offered as part of an overall system, and airport guidance systems are not part of the core competencies of the Zumtobel Group. So I am pleased that we have been able to sell this field of operations to the Safegate Group – a successful player in the airport systems business. The Zumtobel Group will thus be able to concentrate more strongly on expanding its core professional lighting business.”

Parts of the operations of the Thorn AFL division have to date been handled by Thorn Europhane SA based in France, the Australian subsidiary Thorn DNT Airfield Lighting PTY Limited, and the UK sister company Thorn Lighting Limited. Sales have been managed by sales offices in France, England and Australia, and AFL research and development by the R&D department based in France. 

The sale does not include the production of AFL products in France, as Thorn will continue to manufacture these products for Safegate. As a result, the production facilities in France will continue to be owned by Thorn.

As part of Thorn within the Zumtobel Lighting Division, Thorn AFL was a relatively small unit, accounting for just 2% of total Group revenues. One decisive factor in the decision to sell was the extremely cyclical nature of Thorn AFL’s business, with projects that had increasingly come to involve contracted services at the installation stage, which could not be supplied by the Zumtobel Lighting Division. This also led to a low level of synergy effects between Thorn Europhane in France and Thorn AFL.

The activities of Thorn Airfield Lighting and the Safegate Group complement one another in many areas. The resultant synergies will have a positive impact on the future development of the successful Safegate Group and will thus bring new opportunities for the employees transferring to Safegate.    

Details of the financial effects of the transaction for the Zumtobel Group will be published when the first-half results are announced on December 7, 2006.

Investor Relations
Christian Hogenmüller
Head of Investor Relations
T.: +43 (5572) 509-506

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Corporate Communications
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