Helsinki, FINLAND

Aspo Systems Oy, a subsidiary of Aspo Plc, has today signed a preliminary agreement for the acquisition of Autotank, a Scandinavian supplier of service station equipment and maintenance services. The transaction makes Aspo Systems the Baltic market leader in service station payment automation and maintenance services.

The business and clientele of the Autotank Group complement Aspo Systems and strengthen its market position: both groups produce and supply payment automation and related equipment for service stations and provide maintenance services. The acquisition extends Aspo Systems' market area beyond Finland and the Baltic states to the entire Scandinavian area, which will increase and diversify the company's clientele.

The acquisition strengthens Aspo Systems' position as the pioneer in the development of payment systems in the Baltic area. In Aspo's view the automation of the service station payment systems is a growing trend proceeding towards wireless payment. This will create new investment needs for the service station chains and thus new market potential for Aspo.

It is Aspo's view that the integration of Aspo Systems and Autotank product groups and know-how will generate significant synergies in product development, production and marketing.

"The acquisition of Autotank is for Aspo a logical step in developing the service station business. With the Autotank acquisition our competitive position as a provider of equipment, systems and comprehensive maintenance services for service stations in the Baltic area will strengthen significantly", states Gustav Nyberg, CEO of Aspo Plc.

Extending the market area, diversifying the product range and increasing the efficiency of the support services is strategically crucial for Aspo Systems. The share of unmanned stations of all stations is growing. To remain operative the automated stations require support services that owners of the service station chains are increasingly outsourcing. The chains are looking for a reliable partner supplying their service stations with cost-effective and geographically comprehensive maintenance services and state-of-the-art payment system technologies. This challenge is met by Aspo.

According to the preliminary agreement Aspo Systems Oy will purchase the entire shareholding of the parent company of the Autotank Group. Net sales of the Autotank Group in 2000 totalled EUR 16.4 million and the result was profitable. The Group employs 93 people and its headquarters is in Stockholm.

Net sales of the Aspo Systems Group in 2000 were EUR 14.2 million. Aspo Systems is a member of the Aspo Group. The Group focuses on logistical support services for industry. Aspo provides services for companies in the energy and process industries in sectors requiring strong technical and logistical know-how. Aspo's net sales in 2000 totalled EUR 107.5 million with about 13 % originating from Aspo Systems.


Gustav Nyberg