Car manufacturer Stellantis becomes owner of Limburg’s Punch Powertrain: 600 jobs saved | Sint Truiden

Car manufacturer Stellantis becomes owner of Limburg’s Punch Powertrain: 600 jobs saved | Sint Truiden
Car manufacturer Stellantis becomes owner of Limburg’s Punch Powertrain: 600 jobs saved | Sint Truiden
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Control of the Punch Powertrain factory in Sint-Truiden, a manufacturer of drive systems, has been fully taken over by car manufacturer Stellantis. The trade unions ACV and ABVV confirmed this on Friday. The factory has been saved for the time being, but this is at the expense of the Chinese shareholder.

Punch Powertrain came into the hands of the Chinese group Yiny in 2016. Last year, the company, together with Stellantis, started series production of parts for ‘eDCT’, a new double-clutch automatic transmission for hybrid cars.

Legal battle

Stellantis, the group that owns brands such as Peugeot, Fiat, Opel, Citroën and Chrysler, initially had an equal stake of 50 percent, but that had already evolved into a majority stake. A legal battle arose between Punch Powertrain and Stellantis, but the latter prevailed.

The car giant will take over the joint venture completely, says Nadia Gueroui, secretary at the Christian metal association ACV Metea, and a spokesperson for the Limburg company confirms in De Tijd. “The court has confirmed the allocation of all shares to Stellantis,” added Raf Dal Cero, secretary of the socialist trade union ABVV Metaal.

Punch Powertrain tried to prevent the hostile takeover by Stellantis, but they were not successful

Nadia Gueroui

“Punch Powertrain tried to counter the hostile takeover by Stellantis, but they were unable to do so,” Gueroui said. Stellantis was able to gain control of the partnership due to the financial instability of Punch Powertrain’s Chinese shareholder, she says. The joint venture is called ‘Punch Powertrain PSA e-Transmissions NV’.

The joint venture in question, which makes parts for a type of automatic gearboxes, has about 600 employees, according to the unions. Punch Powertrain says in a response that it will “adjust the business plan to the new situation”.

Trade union secretary Gueroui mainly asks what will happen to the employees who remain at Punch Powertrain. This only concerns white-collar workers, such as engineers. The question is whether the company can continue without Stellantis, it sounds concerned.

Gearbox parts

The joint venture with Stellantis makes parts for a type of automatic gearboxes, which are then assembled in Metz and Turin. The unions are not immediately concerned about a bad outcome. The parts are in more than 150 Stellantis models, Gueroui said. But the capacity in Sint-Truiden must continue to be fully utilized. They also want job security to be extended. There will therefore be further discussions with Stellantis.

Raf Dal Cero also mentions the uncertainty for the staff. “Now that we know it is Stellantis, it is important to us that people can continue to work. We will sit down with Stellantis management to make agreements for the future.” Currently there is “no major problem”. He expects more clarity in the coming weeks.

Punch Powertrain confirms in a written response that Stellantis is acquiring all shares in the joint venture ‘Punch Powertrain PSA e-Transmissions NV’. “There is no immediate impact on employment, as the joint venture and Punch Powertrain already operated separately in the past,” it said. However, Punch Powertrain is busy “adjusting its business plan and associated financing to the new situation”.

The group says it has around 700 employees, excluding the joint venture, of whom 170 work at the Belgian headquarters in Sint-Truiden.

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Tags: Car manufacturer Stellantis owner Limburgs Punch Powertrain jobs saved Sint Truiden

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