Schmolz + Bickenbach Acquires Asco Industries

January 29, 2018

Paris office represents Schmolz + Bickenbach in its successful bid to take over Asco Industries.

On January 29, the Strasbourg regional court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) announced that Schmolz + Bickenbach had been selected as buyer of a substantial part of the assets of Asco Industries as part of reorganization proceedings opened on November 22, 2017.

The takeover strengthens Schmolz + Bickenbach's business in the quality and engineering steel segment and further strengthens its position as one of the leading companies for high-quality specialty long-steel products in Europe. The acquisition follows the strategy of actively participating in the consolidation of the European specialty steel industry. The transaction includes the acquisition of the most important plants of Asco Industries where the majority of jobs are secured. At the same time, new jobs will be created as part of the acquisition at Schmolz + Bickenbach's French Ugitech business unit (Ugine, Haute-Savoie).

Asco Industries is the main operational company of the Ascometal group, well known in the French restructuring market given previous reorganization proceedings in 2014. The company’s most significant assets were encumbered to the benefit of its creditors pursuant to these previous reorganization proceedings, which added complexity to the case since numerous negotiations were needed (and have been led in parallel to the preparation of the bid) to release the pledges on those assets and thus allow their disposal by the court.

The competition was fierce with the global offer of Liberty House, part of Sandeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, which proposed to take over all the plants and preserve more jobs.

Asco Industries has approximately 1,300 employees and generated sales of approximately €377 million in 2016. Schmolz + Bickenbach has 8,900 employees and generated a turnover of €2.3 billion in 2016.

The Willkie team was led by Alexandra Bigot assisted by Thomas Doyen.