EUROPE: The merger of wheel, axle and running gear component makers Gutehoffnungshütte Radsatz International Holding GmbH and Valdunes Entreprises was completed on February 1.

The new GHH Group brings together production sites at Oberhausen in Germany, Dunkerque and Valenciennes in France and Liège in Belgium to give a combined capacity of more than 100 000 wheels per year. Corporate headquarters is at Oberhausen, and there are branch offices in Paris and Singapore.

The Valdunes and GHH Radsatz brands will be kept. Both companies have established a strong position in their domestic markets, with Valdunes supplying the wheels for Alstom's TGV family and GHH Radsatz producing wheels for Bombardier and Siemens trams as well as Deutsche Bahn's S-Bahn and ICE fleets.

'With their regional customer structures and different product focuses both companies complement one another nearly perfectly,' said Managing Director of GHH Group Michael J Walter.

GHH Holding was supported in the merger by investor SG Capital Europe, which owns 85% of the group. The remaining 15% is held by the management. In 2007 the group had a consolidated turnover of €210m, and 950 employees.