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European acquisitions

EUROPEAN companies Metso Minerals and Royston have added to the large number of international acquisitions of local mining and industrial services companies in Western Australia.

The deals reflect the desire of international firms to strengthen their presence in WA, though the current economic uncertainty has put a question mark over the prospect of future deals.

Finland-based minerals processing equipment supplier Metso Minerals bought G&F Beltline Services for $13.2 million mid October.

This followed UK diesel engineering company Royston buying out Henderson-based Power Station & Marine Services in June.

The purchase of the diesel engine repair and maintenance company gave Royston a permanent base at the Australian Marine Complex as well as developing the company's international business.

Metso Minerals managing director WA, Helen Herbage, said that the acquisition of G&F allowed for a broadening of the company's service capability in WA, with G&F services being complementary to Metso's product line and operations.

Ms Herbage said that although Metso's strategy is to acquire further businesses in the state, she expects the number of acquisitions to slow down in the next few months.

"I don't think we'll see anything happen in the next six months, people want to see how it [the economy] is going to pan out. When it settles, I expect further acquisition activity in Western Australia," she told WA Business News.

"The mining boom is still going reasonably well for WA, there is still some growth happening, it still remains to be seen how things are going to settle down," she said.

G&F Beltline Services is now the Conveyor and Lining Services branch for Metso Minerals and former director Henning Volzke has been appointed vice president of the branch.

Mr Volzke said that he appointed Javelin Partners as business advisers over a year ago as several companies showed an interest in G&F Beltline Services.

Incorporated in 1985, the company has grown into a significant conveyor belt supplier and service provider to resource development and mineral processing industries around WA.

Mr Volzke took over in 1987 when the company only had five employees; it currently has 95 staff in five different operations around the state.

With conveyor belt service branches in Perth, Mount Magnet, Geraldton and Newman, the company established a presence in most of WA's mining and industrial processing centres.

"Conveyor belts interlink the equipment that Metso provided to BHP and Rio Tinto...for Metso to acquire G&F was a logical consequence," Mr Volzke told WA Business News.

"More opportunities will come out of being part of the Metso group," he said.

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