Last month, ATW (Assembly & Test Europe GmbH), a company based in the German town of Neuwied that makes modern battery assembly lines, was rocked by news that it was facing closure due to the effects of the pandemic. The announcement was related by Udo Panenka, a managing director from ATW’s parent company, the Canadian ATS group. The news hit ATW like a bomb, as the company had been operating as a profitable supplier for clients such as BMW and Daimler.
Things took an interesting turn at the end of September, when local reports indicated that there may be hope for ATW and its pool of 210 highly-skilled workers yet. According to a report from RZ information, serious negotiations were underway with a company that could very well save the German battery assembly maker from bankruptcy. ATW’s management and works council, for their part, declined to comment further on the reported takeover plans.
The identity of the cryptic company that would save ATW from closure was revealed recently, as per information from local news outlet The European. The publication noted that the battery assembly maker is being taken over by none other than American electric car maker Tesla, which is currently looking to ramp its efforts to produce its own battery cells for its vehicles and energy products.
With Tesla coming into the picture, the imminent closure of ATW has been taken completely off the table. All 210 jobs in the company would also be preserved, which should give Tesla and its German workforce a notable boost considering the caliber of ATW’s engineers. Considering that ATW was on the way towards bankruptcy when it was acquired, speculations suggest that Tesla may have received a very good deal in the acquisition.
Reports indicated that ATW’s business partners had received notifications on Tuesday that the company had agreed to be taken over by a manufacturer of electric vehicles from California. Tesla was not specifically named in the communication, though word quickly got around in the industry. A toast in ATW’s Neuwied site was held on Friday as well, in celebration of the takeover from Tesla.
Tesla’s acquisition of ATW could be considered as a huge win for both companies. Prior to its unfortunate run-in with the pandemic that caused a steep decline in orders, ATW had been a highly profitable business that produced transmission assembly lines for Magna and state-of-the-art battery assemblies for BMW and Daimler. Tesla, for its part, needs premier talent such as well-trained battery engineers and skilled workers as it expands its presence in the region with Gigafactory Berlin.