Wittur lifts off with Goldman Sachs

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The Independent Online

Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, has been instructed to sell one of the world's leading lift firms for an estimated £450m.

Wittur, the German-based company that made the lift components for the Swiss Re tower in London, will be put up for sale next month. An industry expert said that "the right ball park" price would be up to €600m (£470m), though a second source said it could fetch slightly more.

Rivals for the commission are known to be angered that the investment banking division of the US bank was appointed, as Goldman Sachs co-owns Wittur as part of a consortium that includes the hedge fund Cerberus Management Group. The pair bought Wittur in 2006.

The sale is thought to be more likely to interest private equity groups than trade buyers. Wittur manufactures lift components, such as doors and electronics.

The company was founded in 1968 by Horst Wittur, who started by selling Italian lift doors in Germany. Today, Wittur has manufacturing plants in nine countries, including Turkey, Brazil and China, and has offices in 21 locations from Argentina to Australia.

In June, Wittur announced plans for a £4m manufacturing plant in Slovakia, which is due to open early next year.

The company's UK operations are based in Mold, Flintshire.