Siemens buys cables firm Expro for £397m


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The Independent Online

A manufacturer specialising in underwater cables for the oil and gas industry was snapped up today by German engineering giant Siemens for $630 million (£397.2 million).

The company, a division of Reading-based Expro, designs and engineers underwater components such as cable connectors, sensors and measuring devices which can operate thousands of metres below the surface of the ocean.

It employs 450 people at sites in Ulverston in Cumbria, Norway, Brazil, Malaysia and Houston in the US.

Siemens is best known for mobile phones but it is also one of the largest engineering firms in Europe and has a wide range of businesses stretching through the healthcare, transport and energy sectors.

The acquisition will allow Siemens to strengthen its position as a supplier to the offshore oil and gas industry as land-based reserves increasingly run out. It could also help it link offshore wind farms to the energy grid.

Expro, which employs some 5,000 people in 50 countries, said it had received several unsolicited offers for the company last year.

Chief executive Charles Woodburn said he was "very pleased" with the sale and will use the money to pay down debts and fund the growth of its core business of providing products that measure and improve the flow from oil and gas wells.

The deal still needs the approval of regulators but is expected to complete in May.