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Atlas Copco on the acquisition trail

Atlas Copco celebrated 140 years of history at a London event this month with an affirmation that it is still in the business of buying businesses.

Today it boasts 49,000 employees, accrues £9 billion in revenue and a healthy 21.2 per cent margin. Senior vice-president, human resources and organisational development Jeanette Livijn says it has achieved this on the back of growth by both acquisition and organic means.

“There will be more acquisitions right across all the business areas beyond the ones we have already seen this year”

Kevin Prince, Atlas Copco

“We have two-thirds organic and one-third acquisition, which we think is healthy,” she says.

This looks set to continue. General manager and director Kevin Prince says: “There will be more acquisitions right across all the business areas beyond the ones we have already seen this year.”

This is despite the difficult economic climate – a metaphor that he uses and extends. “I’ve adopted a Swedish phrase: there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing,” he says.

The giant manufacturer began life serving the embryonic Swedish railway industry in 1873, but now manufactures equipment for the four business areas of compressors, industrial, mining and rock excavation and construction.

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