Daimler Trucks AG set to acquire Atlantis Foundries

Germany’s and one of the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturers has entered into a transaction to acquire control over Ukuvela Holdings and its subsidiaries Atlantis Foundries Pty Ltd and Ukuvela Properties Pty Ltd.

It is no April Fool’s joke but Atlantis Foundries is about to go through another ownership change and the purchasing company is part of the Daimler AG Group, the same Group that Daimler/Mercedes-Benz South Africa is part of and was the company that off-loaded Atlantis Foundries in 2015 to Halberg-Guss.

Daimler AG, commonly known and referred to as Mercedes, is a German multinational automotive corporation, headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Würtemberg.

Atlantis Foundries management informed its staff and unions at the beginning of April 2020 of the imminent ownership change. Besides showing concern for the staff and thanking them for being understanding during the lockdown period in South Africa, the letter went onto say: “We would like to inform you that our customer Daimler Truck AG (Daimler Truck) has entered into a transaction with our shareholder Ukuvela Holdings Pty Ltd (Ukuvela Holdings) in terms of which Daimler Truck intends to acquire control over Ukuvela Holdings and its subsidiaries Atlantis Foundries Pty Ltd and Ukuvela Properties Pty Ltd (Proposed Transaction).”

“The Proposed Transaction has been notified to the Competition Commission for approval. This process may take several months. Once completed Daimler Truck will own Atlantis Foundries again. To be very clear, the Proposed Transaction will not have any adverse impact on the employment conditions of any employees of the merging parties and will not result in retrenchments.”

Atlantis Foundries produces automotive castings for the commercial vehicle industry. Daimler/Mercedes-Benz South Africa took control of Atlantis Foundries in 1999, and achieved record production of 60 000 tons cast in 2012. The overall melting capacity of the foundry now stands at 100 000 tons per annum.

In 2018 Atlantis Foundries achieved a notable milestone in the company’s history when it recorded the casting of its one-millionth Daimler heavy-duty engine block (HDEP) since the foundry cast its first sample just over 12 years ago.

The particular milestone that the company reached is for what is known as the Daimler Heavy Duty Engine Platform Block. The grey cast iron castings are produced in two variants – OM471/DD13 and OM472/DD15 – and the main truck applications are for Mercedes-Benz (Europe), Freightliner (USA) and Fuso trucks. The customer is Daimler AG, soon to be the new owners, and the blocks are shipped to Detroit Diesel in the USA and to the Daimler plant in Mannheim, Germany.

Atlantis Foundries cast their first sample in 2007 and by 2013 were producing 100 000 blocks per annum. This shot up to in excess of 150 000 blocks per annum in 2014 and 180 000 in 2019, hence the acceleration to the one-millionth mark, which was achieved recently. These blocks range from 430kg to 450kg in weight and are fettled, reference machined, powder coated, preserved and packed.

Atlantis Foundries has always specialised in manufacturing medium to heavy-duty engine blocks and originally began as a machining facility back in 1979 when it was known as Atlantis Diesel Engines (ADE). The company was established by the South African government to produce diesel engines for the South African commercial and agriculture markets, and for military vehicles such as the Ratel, Buffel, Casspir and Samil. The company subsequently obtained a license to manufacture Mercedes-Benz and Perkins diesel engines.

The foundry was established in 1979 and from the beginning it concentrated on producing engine blocks for truck, bus, industrial and marine applications. One of the first blocks the foundry cast was for the ERF model 66 truck.

Atlantis Foundries continues to specialise in casting cylinder blocks for commercial vehicles and off-road installations for export to engine manufacturers in the USA and Germany. The cylinder blocks are supplied to the engine plants of Detroit Diesel, and Mercedes-Benz in Mannheim, Germany. The engines in turn are supplied to manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Western Star, Mitsubishi Fuso and Freightliner. In the past, the company has also produced castings for the passenger car market.

Atlantis Foundries embraces the Fourth Industrial Revolution
In 2016 Atlantis Foundries embarked on a process that would pave the way to the company becoming a Smart Foundry, by embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The project aimed to combine various technologies available to gather and analyse process data, with the aim of improving product quality and cost efficiency. As a result, today Atlantis Foundries is one of the most advanced manufacturers of complex castings in the world.

Daimler Trucks AG
Daimler Trucks AG, a division in the Daimler Group, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of heavy and medium trucks for the commercial vehicle industry, with more than 35 primary locations around the world and around 100 000 employees. All Daimler Trucks & Buses activities are conducted at Daimler Truck AG.

Daimler Trucks AG has seven brands under one roof: Bharat Benz, Freightliner, Fuso, Mercedes-Benz, Setra, Thomas Built Buses and Western Star. In 2018 Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses delivered a total of more than one and a half million trucks and buses to customers.