VA TECH ELIN EBG GmbH
VA TECH ELIN EBG GmbH
Wholly Owned Subsidiary of VA Technologie AG
Sales: EUR 567.7 million ($550 million) (2001)
NAIC: 541330 Engineering Services; 335999 All Other Miscellaneous Electrical Equipment and Component Manufacturing; 335313 Switchgear and Switchboard Apparatus Manufacturing; 234990 All Other Heavy Construction; 335312 Motor and Generator Manufacturing; 333612 Speed Changer, Industrial High-Speed Drive, and Gear Manufacturing; 234930 Industrial Nonbuilding Structure Construction
VA TECH ELIN EBG GmbH (VTEE) is the infrastructure and industrial services arm of Austria’s VA Technologie AG. VTEE itself was formed by the 1997 merger of two VA Tech units, Elin Energieanwendung GmbH and Elektro Bau AG. The subsidiary provides diversified infrastructure products, solutions, and services, including customized electromechanical, electronic, and integrated utility systems; power plants and energy distribution systems; infrastructure systems for the construction industries; and facilities management services. VTEE operates in five key business segments. In Energy Distribution, VTEE is active in the development and manufacturing of small-scale power plants, medium- and low-voltage power networks, power station and network automated systems, and traffic and other signal control systems. Under Industry Automation, VTEE produces drive technology, transport and handling technology systems, and clean room technology equipment. The company’s Building Construction unit provides holistic infrastructure systems and services for the construction industry, including information and security systems, specialized systems for healthcare facilities, road and rail tunnel equipment, and utility supply and treatment systems. VTEE’s Facilities Management wing adds technical and infrastructure building management services. In addition to these operations, VTEE manufactures several product lines through its subsidiaries, including frequency inverters, switchgear panels, traction drives and ropeway technology, that is, cable-based haulage systems and equipment, such as those used for cableways, remote-controlled snowmaking equipment, and the like. VTEE produces more than EUR 560 million in revenues. The company is active in Austria, Russia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. International sales accounted for 37 percent of VTEE’s sales in 2001.
Austrian Electrical Infrastructure Pioneer
VTEE was created through the merger of VA Technologie subsidiary Elin Energieanwendung and fellow Austrian firm Elektro Bau in 1997. The merged company became the infrastructure and industrial services wing of its sprawling Austrian parent, which had become not only the leading engineering company at home but also one of the top engineering companies worldwide. Through Elin, VTEE represented one of the oldest parts of VA Tech, that of power generation and distribution network systems. As such, the company was one of the pioneers of Austria’s electrical infrastructure.
Engineer Franz Pichler was granted the mandate for the production of electrical power for the town of Weiz, in the Styrian region of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Pichler also received a concession for the production of mechanical equipment for electrical power generation. Pichler formed two companies, the first of which, Elektrische Centralstation Franz Pichler, took over the power generation concession and later became known as Franz Pichler Werke. The second company was Weizer Elektrizitätwerk Franz Pichler & Co., which began production of dynamos. In 1895, Weizer Elektrizitätwerk opened a new electromechanical workshop and extended its production range to include transformers and generators.
In 1897, Pichler took on a fellow engineer, Cornel Wasal, as a silent partner in Weizer Elektrizitätwerk. The company changed its name to Gesellscahft für elektrische Industrie, or ELIN, in 1900, and moved its base to Vienna and established a number of sales offices throughout Austria. Elin grew strongly in the pre-World War I years, meeting the growing demand for electrical power generation with a steadily expanding range of electromechanical dynamos, generators, transformers, and switching equipment.
In 1908, Elin constructed a new factory, and began production of a new series of alternating current generators, in addition to its original direct current line. During World War I, production was switched to supporting the Austro-Hungarian war effort. Following the war, Elin moved into production of components and systems for hydroelectric power generation plants. In 1921, the company restructured as a limited liability company, changing its name to ELIN Aktiengesellschaft für elektrische Industrie. The company continued to expand its operations to include a wide spectrum of electromechanical operations, such as the inauguration of the production of traction drive systems for Austria’s first electrical railroad in 1927. In the 1930s, the company’s manufacturing activities also included electrical locomotives. By then Elin had established a number of factories to support its diversified production and had become Austria’s leading electromechanical equipment producer.
Emerging from Nationalization in the 1990s
Elin’s operations were nationalized following the Austrian capitulation at the end of World War II and the establishment of the new Austrian Republic. The company maintained its highly diversified operations, with an emphasis on electromechanical engineering, including a strong hydroelectric component. In 1959, Elin’s operations were merged with another nationalized concern, AEG Union, and the combined company’s name was changed to Elin Union AG für elektrische Energie.
Elin Union became an internationally operating company in the 1960s, adding operations in the nearby markets of Germany and Italy in 1962, then expanding further to include units in Brazil, Turkey, and the United States. In 1970, Elin Union was brought under the control of the newly formed Oesterreichische Industrieholding AG (OIAG), which took over operation of the various state-run companies.
In the mid-1980s, OIAG began preparations for the privatization of much of its operations. During this phase, Elin itself was split into two separate companies, Elin Energieversorgung and Elin Energieanwendung, the latter of which took over Elin’s industrial services and electromechanical infrastructure operations. Formed in 1985, Elin Energieanwendung also included the company’s electrical generator and motor engineering and production activities, as well as other longtime manufacturing operations, such as those of traction drives. In 1989, the slimmed-down Elin added a new production component, that of frequency inverters, in a joint venture with Germany-based JM Voith. The joint venture, called Voith-Elin Elektronik, became a 100 percent Elin subsidiary in 1996.
By then, Elin itself had been placed under new ownership. The privatization of the OIAG-controlled companies had begun in the late 1980s, beginning with the oil and petrochemical company OMV in 1987. Meanwhile, OIAG began restructuring its other holdings, including steel producer Voest-Alpine. In 1993, OIAG created a new holding company for its non-steel interests, VA Technologie AG, and placed both Elin Energieversorgung and Elin Energieanwendung under the new entity. VA Tech was itself nationalized in turn in 1994, marking the biggest yet privatization effort of the Austrian government.
The creation of VA Tech had also given it a majority share in another state-owned company, Elektro-Bau AG (EBG). That company had been founded as Oberösterreichische Elektro Bau Gesellschaft in Linz in 1920. In 1923, EBG began manufacturing transformers; the company later added other energy distribution components to its production operations. Placed under the authority of the Allied occupational forces following the war, EBG was taken over by the Austrian government in 1955. By then, EBG had added an infrastructure component for the engineering and construction of power plants.
EBG’s ownership was placed under majority control of VA Tech in late 1993, while a minority share was held by another Upper Austrian electricity producer, Oberösterreichische Kraftwerks AG, later renamed Energy AG. By then, EBG had already begun to expand internationally, starting operations in Germany in 1988, then founding a subsidiary in the newly declared Czech Republic in 1992. EBG continued its international growth through the 1990s, adding subsidiaries in Poland and Hungary in 1995.
VA TECH ELIN EBG is the competent and innovative partner for comprehensive, resource and environmentally protective electromechanical and electronic systems and services in the energy distribution and application sectors. The company is basically independent of manufacturers, developing and producing important core components for customised solutions itself. It secures a lasting competitive advantage for the customer. Starting from clear market leadership in Austria, VA TECH ELIN EBG is seeking to establish a top ranking in neighbouring countries and above-average growth in selected international markets using multi-domestic locations. Customer orientation is the maxim that applies to all employee actions. VA TECH ELIN EBG demands and promotes staff creativity, flexibility and know-how, thereby securing a profitable future for the company.
VA Technologie acquired full control of EBG in 1997, then merged that company into its Elin Energieanwending unit. The two operations provided a good fit, combining EBG’s strength in the western region of Austria, as well as its growing international component, with Elin’s strong position in the Viennese and eastern Austrian regions. The merged operation took on a new name, Elin EBG Elektrotechnik. The following year, the company began acquiring its majority position in Elektromontazni zavody Praha, a public Czech Republic company originally founded in 1950 to take over the Czechoslovakian operations of such companies as Siemens, Alfa Separator, Brown Boveri, and others at the beginning of the Cold War era. VA Tech began to reposition Elin EBG as an industrial services and infrastructure specialist soon after its acquisition of the transmission and power distribution operations of the United Kingdom’s Rolls Royce. VA Tech itself began a thorough restructuring, renaming its various subsidiaries under the VA Tech name. Elin EBG became known as VA Tech Elin EBG (VTEE) in 1999.
VTEE quickly established itself as the leading infrastructure engineering company in Austria. The subsidiary also continued to develop its strong position in the Eastern Europe market, launching new subsidiaries in Croatia, Russia, and Bulgaria in 2000. These new subsidiaries helped support the divisions’ expansion throughout the region, with major projects in Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, VTEE had already captured leading shares in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. Yet Austria remained the subsidiary’s largest market, at nearly 65 percent of sales in 2001.
At the turn of the century, VTEE continued to boost its foreign position. In March 2002, VTEE acquired majority control of Artep, based in Slovakia. Then in June of that year, VTEE consolidated its leadership position in Austria with the acquisition of family-owned Pfrimer & Mösslacher Heizung Lüftung Sanitär, a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning specialist based in the Carinthian region. Meanwhile, as part of VTEE’s transition to focusing on industrial services and infrastructure engineering operations, the company sold off its electrical drive systems subsidiary to fellow Austrian company Trasys.
VA Tech Elin EBG Elektronik GmbH; Elin EBG Traction GmbH; Elin Seilbahntechnik GmbH & CoKG; VA Tech Elin EGB Haustechnik GmbH; Leitungsbau GmbH (50%); Street Light Division GmbH; DrivesCom Internet Business Services GmbH (50%); Business Center Marchfeld GmbH (25%); VA Tech Elin EBG GmbH (Germany); EZ Praha (Czech Republic); Elin EBG Elektrotechnika Sp. Zo.O. (Poland); VA Tech Elin EBG Veco Kft (Hungary); VA Tech Elin EGB SR s.r.o (Bulgaria).
RHI AG; Andritz AG; AE Energietechnik GmbH; Stoleczny Zaklad Energetyczny Stoen SA; Severoceske doly as; Montanwerke Brixlegg AG; Biuro Studiow i Projektow Biprokabel Sp zoo; AVL Gesellschaft fur Verbrennungskraftmaschinen und Messtechnik mbH; ABB AG; VAMED AG; Porr Projekt und Hochbau AG; WB Holding AG; Ortner Gruppe; SW Umwelttechnik Stoiser und Wolscher.
- Franz Pichler is awarded concession for the production of mechanical equipment for electrical power generation for town of Wienz, Austria.
- Pichler establishes Weizer Elektrizitätwerk Franz Pichler & Co. to begin production of electromechanical components.
- Company changes name to Gesellscahft für elektrische Industrie, or ELIN, and moves base to Vienna.
- Elin establishes new factory for production of alternating current generators.
- Name changes to ELIN Aktiengesellschaft für elektrische Industrie as company becomes a limited liability corporation.
- Elin is nationalized by government of newly formed Austrian Republic.
- Elin is merged with another government-owned company, AEG Union, to form Elin Union AG.
- Elin Union begins international expansion.
- Elin Union becomes part of government-owned Oesterreichische Industrieholding AG (OIAG).
- Elin Union is split into Elin Energieversorgung and Elin Energieanwendung, the latter of which takes over Elin’s industrial services and electromechanical infrastructure operations.
- Elin Energieanwendung is placed under newly created VA Technologie, formed by OIAG.
- VA Technologie is privatized and becomes a publicly listed company.
- VA Technologie acquires full control of Elektro-Bau AG (EBG) and merges that company with Elin Energieanwendung, creating Elin EBG.
- Name is changed to VA TECH ELIN EBG as part of VA Tech restructuring; begins transition to a pure-play industrial services and infrastructure company.
“Austria’s Elin Set to Expand in RI,” Jakarta Post, July 21, 1997.
“VA Tech Focuses on Technology and Services,” Worldlink, January-February 2002, p. 169.
“VA Tech Wins Refurbishment Contract,” Transmission & Distribution World, May 1, 2000.
—M. L. Cohen