A subsidiary of state-owned China South Rail (CSR) acquired a British ocean engineering firm, CSR announced Wednesday. Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric paid a total of 130 million pounds ($193 million) for the Wallsend-based Specialist Machine Developments (SMD).
SMD manufactures deep-sea robotics and equipment, with uses in deep ocean mining and engineering. The U.K. company also manufactures remotely operated underwater vehicles designed to operate in hazardous environments. The company is a leading supplier of commercial submarine mining equipment, and exports its products to more than 30 countries and regions, Xinhua reported.
SMD will reportedly retain business independence and its daily operations will still be managed by the existing team at Newcastle. CSR said the acquisition would help the Chinese firm gain expertise in deep-sea robotics and equipment.
The deal will also help Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric’s five-year old strategy to target the "globalization of business," designed to help the company beyond high-speed rail in foreign markets, BBC reported.
The Chinese firm also has interests in offshore wind energy, marine engineering and drilling where SMD’s technology could play a role. “China's Belt and Road initiatives would bring new strategic opportunities for CSR and other advanced equipment manufacturing enterprises," CSR President Liu Hualong reportedly said, referring to China’s new Silk Road initiative which President Xi Jinping proposed in 2013.