According to The European and other reports, Tesla has acquired a German branch of Canada-based automation company, ATS Automation Tooling Systems. The branch Tesla is said to have acquired is known as ATW, which is described by ATS on their website.
"ATW, a member of ATS Mobility, Nuclear, and Specialty Automation, based in Neuwied/Germany, has extensive experience overcoming the challenges that battery module and pack assembly and test for electric mobility can present. Having partnered with nearly every major automobile manufacturer internationally, ATW has completed more than 20 battery production lines. With this portfolio of projects, ATW customers have come to expect short lead times and project flexibility that is crucial to remain competitive in the dynamic electric mobility industry. ATW is a trusted name in automation to the world's leading OEMs and tier 1 suppliers responsible for building the critical components that bring vehicles to life."
ATW has worked with BMW and Daimler on their latest battery assembly lines, but business has slowed down during the coronavirus pandemic. "The company was considered highly profitable. A decline in orders, which is reportedly also due to Corona, forced short-time work and ultimately maneuvered the company into the abyss - until the deal with Tesla saved from bankruptcy. The Californians, on the other hand, need well-trained engineers and skilled workers in Germany. This created a win-win situation for both sides," says The European in a translated quote.
Parent company ATS trades on the Toronto stock exchange, carrying a market capitalization above $1B. With a reported 210 employees, ATW represents about 5% of the ATS workforce. While financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, if the market cap were evenly distributed by head count, a very rough estimate may put ATW's valuation near $75M. The transaction value is likely a relatively insignificant cost for Tesla.
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Disclosure: Rob Maurer is long TSLA stock and derivatives.