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MA Steel acquires French rail supplier Valdunes

WU LIPING

President of MG-VALDUNES

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Leading French rail supplier

Valdunes has operated in Northern France since the 1970s. Its two plants near Dunkerque and Valenciennes employed nearly 500 and produced wheels, axles, wheelsets and brake beams for the rail industry, but as its finances flagged, potential buyers began to circle. China’s MA Steel was one of them, and it acquired the French firm in 2014.

MA Steel—a leading iron and steel producer

Founded in 1958, MA Steel is a major player in the world iron and steel industry. Ranked among China’s top five listed companies, it has a workforce of 40,000 and specializes in the manufacture of railway equipment for conventional trains—including wheels. MA Steel became interested in Valdunes’ performance and technology in 2012 and closely followed its possible sale.

Win-win takeover

The Chinese group will use the sales network of its new French subsidiary—now known as MG Valdunes—to enter China’s high-speed rail market. But metro and light rail networks in Europe offer attractive opportunities, too, and MG Valdunes will also benefit from joining an iron and steel group with global reach.

Backing from employees and local authorities

Valdunes employees responded positively to MA Steel’s proposal, and the Chinese group sees their confidence as the main success driver in the acquisition. Support from the French State and local authorities—and in particular from Nord France Invest—also helped the acquisition go smoothly.

Watch Mr. Wu’s interview for insights into MA Steel’s successful move into Northern France.