VIENNA - Steyr-Daimler-Puch will not be split into smaller divisions by its new owner, Magna International Inc.
Key executives at renamed Magna-Steyr Puch will stay, and a former Steyr vice president may join the company.
Magna Chairman Frank Stronach has asked former Steyr vice president Juergen Stockmar to take a senior post at Magna's Canadian headquarters. Stockmar set up Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik, the company's vehicle engineering subsidiary.
'I have talked to Stockmar,' said Stronach. 'I think a lot of him but I don't want him solely in Europe but in our world headquarters in Canada.'
Stockmar left Steyr to become product development chief at General Motors' Adam Opel subsidiary in Germany. He left Opel last summer, but his contract prevents him from working for another auto company until July.
He currently works as a consultant, advising companies outside the auto industry. Stockmar confirmed that he has had discussions with Stronach.
Steyr President Rudolf Streicher will become executive chairman of Steyr and also of Magna Europe.
Rudolf Aita, Steyr vice president for engineering and technology, and Alfred Koch, vice president for finance, will keep their jobs. Koch will be speaker of the board.
'Steyr is a good entity,' said Stronach. 'There is no reason to split it up into smaller parts.'
Steyr-Daimler-Puch's pre-tax profits in the first half of 1997 rose 56 percent to Sch67 million ($13 million). In 1996 the company made its first profit for six years.
Under Streicher, the company sold off loss-making subsidiaries that made tractors, bearings and other products.
The price Magna paid for its 66.8 percent stake in Steyr to Creditanstalt Bank has not been disclosed.
But company insiders said it was close to Sch4 billion ($313 million). Stronach said Magna paid out of its cash reserves.
The EU competition minister has yet to approve the deal.
Streicher said he was not surprised at the bank's decision to sell its Steyr shares. 'The new owner will take a much greater interest in the group than a bank does.'
Thomas Winkler, Magna Europe vice president for special projects, said the two companies 'are a perfect fit.'
Steyr owns 50 percent of the Eurostar joint venture that produces Chrysler's Voyager minivan in Graz, Austria.
Steyr designs transmissions for all Fiat's four-wheel-drive cars, and builds some of them too.
'We will never build cars of our own brand,' said Stronach. 'But with Steyr we are able to supply fully-built cars and trucks to our customers, especially niche products, like the Mercedes E-class all-wheel drive.'
Steyr's armored vehicle plant in Vienna will not be sold.
'Armaments are not my beer,' said Stronach, 'but that plant can build any special vehicle from heavy truck to tracked vehicles, to small batches of specialist cars. We have to find a solution that allows people there to keep their jobs.'
Stronach will meet Austrian union leaders, who are worried that the takeover will mean job losses.
'We do not destroy jobs, we create new ones,' said Stronach. 'I come from an Austrian working-class family, I have worked and starved and I know the feelings of workers. When Steyr is taken into the Magna group we will employ 18,000 people in east and west Europe.'