Majority interest in newly formed "etampa-metra" joint venture: "The stage is set for growth"

Grenchen, Switzerland, 2 June 2015 – Swiss precision stamping and fine blanking manufacturer etampa AG today announced the opening of a second production plant near Brno in the Czech Republic. The new company, a joint venture with Czech company Metra Blansko, will operate under the name of etampa-metra. etampa AG has a 60% majority shareholding in etampa-metra.

Metra Blansko was established in 1911. The portion of the company which is contributed to the joint venture is active in the sheet metalworking industry, producing high-quality metal housings (for ticket vending machines or industrial machinery, for example). The company is also a specialist in post-processing and surface treatments. Its operations thus ideally complement those of the Swiss-based parent company. The newly formed company, which currently employs approx. 70 people, becomes operational with immediate effect.

"The stage is set for growth"
Hans-Rudolf Haefeli, President of the Board of Directors and etampa's owner says, "The stage is set for growth. In Metra Blansko, our new partner in the etampa-metra joint venture, we have found a company that is not only innovative but also enjoys a sense of tradition, and therefore suits us very well. We made initial contact with Metra Blansko last autumn, and just six months later, had signed the contracts and established the structure of our joint venture. We are looking forward to working and opening up new markets together." etampa-metra will step up its efforts to increase sales of its stamped parts in the Czech Republic, while at the same time promoting the sale of its high quality sheet metal housings in Switzerland. “Sales of metal housings in Switzerland alone currently account for 30 percent of the company's revenue. We now intend to increase this figure," says Haefeli.

Greater proximity to major customers
Daniel Brügger, etampa CEO, also expressed his satisfaction with the development: "Our second production plant in the Czech Republic gives us greater proximity to some of our major customers manufacturing in the Czech Republic and the surrounding regions, who have told us that they very much welcome this move. We will now be able minimise long-distance deliveries and greatly improve face-to-face communication with these customers.

Two plants for a more secure future
The joint venture intends to relocate some areas of production from Grenchen to the Czech Republic, which will result in the short-term loss of some jobs. "I wish to stress, however," says Brügger, "that only a few jobs are affected, and that this step of establishing a second plant in the Czech Republic will help to secure the future of our company, minimise risks, improve our cost base and set the stage for stable growth in the future."

To ensure the careful training of staff, an intensive exchange of technical personnel between etampa and etampa-metra is in planning stage at both sites. The company's "ideas lab" and technology centre will definitely remain in Grenchen, says Brügger.

Second production site under discussion for two years
It has been two years since etampa executives began discussing the possible locations for a second production plant. The first exploratory discussions were set up via an agency in spring 2014. “We would like to stress that our decision was not caused by the appreciation of the Swiss franc." Nevertheless, Brügger admits that the actions of the Swiss National Bank in January this year added some urgency to the business decision to make the move to the Czech Republic. "Unfortunately, the appreciation of our currency put us at a competitive disadvantage internationally, and we had a corporate responsibility to make the right decision and to take the necessary action to secure the long-term future of our company."


About etampa
Established in 1945, etampa ag is headquartered in Grenchen, in the Swiss canton of Solothurn. A leading company in the stamping and fineblanking sector, the company’s guiding philosophy is the application of high-precision workmanship and the fulfilment of exacting demands.

On 7,200 sqm of factory space, etampa operates lean engineering and high-performance toolmaking facilities and an ultra-modern production plant. Most of its customers are based in the automotive, electronics/electrical engineering, construction and medical/safety technology industries. The company employs around 85 people and also maintains a sales office in Illinois, USA.

About etampa-metra
etampa-metra a/s (a joint stock company) was founded in May 2015 and has its headquarters near Brno in the Czech Republic. It is a joint venture between the Swiss etampa AG, which holds a majority stake of 60%, and the well-established Czech company Metra Blansko. Like etampa, the Czech partner company in the joint venture is active in the sheet metal manufacturing industry, producing high-quality metal housings, and is a specialist in post- processing and surface treatments. The company currently has 78 employees.


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