BERLIN -- Germany's Viessmann Group is selling its business with heat pumps, viewed as a key technology in making heating more climate-friendly, to Florida-based Carrier Global Corp. as part of a 12 billion-euro ($13.2 billion) deal.
The sale of Viessmann's “climate solutions” business, which includes heat pumps and which both companies announced late Tuesday, comes as Germany is putting into place plans to phase out gas and oil heating systems as a way to curb global warming. Heat pumps are seen as important to weaning Germans off those systems.
German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is leading those plans, said the Viessmann deal showed that the market for heat pumps “is so attractive that it is drawing investment.” He said in a statement that the government would examine the deal.
“It is important that the advantages of our energy policy and profits that are made with it continue to benefit Germany as a location,” he said. “We will pay attention to this.”
Senior opposition lawmaker Jens Spahn, in comments to the RND newspaper group, accused the government of piling pressure on manufacturers to step up their production fast or risk losing market share to Asian competitors.
“Apparently foreign investors are needed for that,” he said, arguing that the government's policies were leading to “a sell-off of the German heat pump.”
The deal entails Carrier paying 80% in cash and 20% in Carrier shares to Viessmann. It will see family-owned Viessmann become one of the biggest shareholders in Carrier, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The German company's CEO, Max Viessmann, will join Carrier's board of directors when the deal is completed, which is expected around the end of the year.
Carrier, whose business activities include refrigeration, said the Viessmann climate solutions division will provide it with “an iconic, premium brand in the highest growth segment of the global heat pump and energy transition markets.”
Viessmann said the U.S. firm's “global reach, broad product portfolio, financial strength and shared commitment to sustainability” would enable its business to “maximize our impact on Europe’s independent energy transition.”
The German company said the two sides have agreed to rule out layoffs for three years, and to guarantee the future of the Viessmann division's major production, research and development sites for five years and its headquarters in the central German town of Allendorf for 10 years.
The division has about 11,000 employees. Viessmann said 106 million euros will be paid out to them as a one-time bonus marking “106 years of success” once the deal is completed.