July 2013: Multinational French metal products group, SAFE, acquires Novacero, the Vitoria based manufacturer of steel products for the construction and railway industries.

SAFE, the Paris based metal products manufacturer, completes the purchase of the assets and business activities of Novacero following lengthy legal proceedings which culminated in the managed bankruptcy of the Spanish company, which had encountered cash-flow problems since the 2009 worldwide fall in demand for Caterpillar earth moving equipment. The transaction allows SAFE to consolidate its global relationship with Caterpillar and Alstom and guarantees that all the current 150 employees of Novacero continue to have employment at the Northern Spanish plant.

The process of liquidation and sale of Novocero’s assets was a complex and sensitive process which required extensive negotiations with unions, the Spanish administration and regulatory and legal entities in the Basque Country. Notwithstanding the public nature of the legal process, SAFE enjoyed an exclusivity agreement for much of the transaction process with all parties agreeing to the orderly dissolution of Novacero which had been a workers cooperative since 2003. The new legal entity becomes the largest specialist manufacturer of large gauge axels for earthmoving equipment and trains in Europe.

SOCIOS advises SAFE on all aspects of the transaction and the related negotiations with the different interest groups.