China South Rail buys UK maritime engineering firm

ROV Image copyright SMD
Image caption An remotely operated underwater vehicle made by SMD

A subsidiary of train maker China South Rail has bought a UK manufacturer of ocean engineering products, Specialist Machine Developments (SMD).

Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric has paid £130m for the Wallsend-based firm.

SMD will remain independent in its business operations, and day-to-day functions will still be controlled by its original management team.

CSR president Liu Hualong said it would help SMD expand its operations and unlock further global opportunities.

The Tyneside firm makes remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) and advanced submarine engineering machines, including for underwater mining.

It exports to 30 countries. A Chinese subsidiary of SMD will be set up to develop its presence in the maritime market in that country.

Five years ago Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric introduced its strategy of the "globalisation of business", designed to develop international expansion and a diversification of its operations beyond high-speed rail.

The purchase also fits into China's broader strategy to acquire foreign technology and market access.

Image copyright Other
Image caption The Chinese firm is looking to diversify beyond high-speed rail

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