INDUSTRIAL conglomerate Invensys plc - formed last year through the merger of BTR and Siebe - announced on April 25 that it had decided to sell its Westinghouse Brakes business units to Knorr-Bremse of Germany, for an aggregate cash consideration of £65m.

Based at Chippenham in Great Britain and Sydney in Australia, Westinghouse Brakes was a key component of the BTR businesses now forming Invensys Rail. As well as brakes for passenger, freight and metro vehicles, the business also supplies platform screen doors for metros. However, Invensys Chief Executive Allen Yurko says future development of the Rail Systems business ’will focus on signalling and control systems where Invensys is a leading supplier’ - which could include future strategic acquisitions.

In the six months to September 30 1999, Westinghouse Brakes achieved a pre-tax profit of £4m on sales of £27m. Net operating assets to be transferred are valued at £20m, and the business currently has around 600 staff. München-based Knorr-Bremse supplies brakes for both rail and road vehicles, with over 8000 staff world-wide. In 1999, the company had a turnover of around DM2·5bn, of which rail accounted for DM1·2bn.

Knorr-Bremse sees the Westinghouse Brakes business as complementing its own international operations. In particular, the deal will give it access to both the British and Australian braking markets, and the platform screen door capability to compete in Asia.