Tesla’s ‘merger’ with German battery assembly line maker ATW gets official approval

Elon Musk Tesla

Recent updates from the German Press Agency indicate that Tesla has received official approval for its acquisition of ATW (Assembly & Test Europe GmbH), a company based in the German town of Neuwied that makes modern battery assembly lines. A spokesman for the German Federal Cartel Office confirmed the update, though he described the deal as a “merger.”

ATW is a small, specialized company that belongs to the Canadian ATS Group. The company is known for providing battery assembly lines and other key components for high-profile clients like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. ATW actually had a lot of momentum and was a profitable business over the years, but when the pandemic hit, it suffered hard. By September, reports emerged that the ATW was facing bankruptcy, as related by ATS executive Udo Panenka.

Near the end of September, reports emerged indicating that ATW and its 210 highly-skilled workers could very well be saved by a third-party. ATW’s management and works council kept quiet about the deal, but by early October, local reports revealed that the third party that’s poised to save ATW from bankruptcy was American electric car maker Tesla, which is currently building one of its Gigafactories in Grünheide near Berlin.

Neuwied city spokesman Erhard Jung proved optimistic about Tesla’s rescue of the battery assembly line maker. In a recent statement to Handelsblatt, the spokesman noted that international companies like Tesla are welcome in the area. “Tesla plays a leading role in electric mobility,” Jung noted. The mayor of Neuwied, Jan Einig, recently expressed similar sentiments, highlighting that Tesla Grohmann Automation GmbH in Prüm is only about 100 km away.

The specifics of Tesla’s deal with ATW have not been released so far, but speculations strongly suggest that the Elon Musk-led company was able to negotiate a good price for its “merger” with the German firm. This is in no small part due to the fact that ATW was approaching bankruptcy when Tesla entered the picture.

Tesla’s “merger” with ATW would undoubtedly be a massive win for both companies. On the one hand, ATW would avoid bankruptcy and its 210 highly-trained and skilled workers will be able to keep their jobs. On the other hand, Tesla will be able to acquire a talented, specialized, and proven workforce for its expansion in Germany. This is especially important considering the company’s plans to produce batteries at the Gigafactory Berlin site, as per suggestions from CEO Elon Musk.

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