The takeover of insolvent engineering and power group AE&E Austria GmbH & Co KG by Andritz AG has been filed for approval with Austria’s anti-trust authorities. No financial details have yet been disclosed.

AE&E Group GmbH – the holding company of the AE&E Group – went into administration in October and filed for insolvency at the end of November after efforts to restructure, or sell off the beleaguered company in one piece, had foundered. The concern’s banks and credit insurers, who are owed around €800m, were “unable to bring themselves to finance the AE&E Group’s continuing operations long enough for reputable potential buyers to complete due diligence, despite intensive negotiations”, said AE&E’s owner A-Tec. AE&E Austria filed for insolvency soon after its parent AE&E Group because no funding could be found for the continuation of its operations.

At that point A-Tec was looking for new investors for the individual subsidiary companies. At the time no agteement had been reached with any of several firms, including the South Korean Doosan group and the Austrian industrial group Andritz, that had repeatedly expressed interest in acquiring the subsidiary.

According to A-Tec, the financial situation of AE&E had worsened considerably in the month leading up to the insolvency filing and as a result, the company had applied for reorganisation without self-administration, with creditors being offered at least 20 per cent of what they were owed.

But at the last minute A-Tec reached an agreement with Andritz which, it has been confirmed, will take over AE&E Austria GmbH & Co KG and has agreed on a restructuring plan with AE&E Austria’s insolvency administrator, providing the necessary finance to get the troubled firm back on its feet. Andritz was first thought to have given up the bid after talks with creditors about a possible takeover broke down because the parties failed to agree on a price.

AE&E has approximately 500 employees in Graz, Vienna and at its Australian head office in Sydney, and annual sales of around 200-300 €m. With this purchase, Andritz will strengthen and complements its product range in its pulp and paper and environment and process business areas.