November 14, 2019
MODERN CITIES owe their shape to two nineteenth-century revolutions in personal transport. For urban sprawl, blame the car. The skyscrapers that shape many of the world's most recognizable urban landscapes would not exist without fast and safe lifts. While the four largest automakers sell two-fifths of the road vehicles, the automakers lift the market much more strongly. The top four companies supply more than two thirds of all elevators (see chart). More concentration may be coming soon.
The potential for consolidation is courtesy of Thyssenkrupp. The struggling German industrial conglomerate needs to raise money as it restructures radically after years of shrinking profits and strategic errors. Elevator Technology (ET), its elevator company, could be worth € 15 billion to 18 billion ($ 17 billion to 20 billion), roughly equivalent to Thyssenkrupp's market value (including net debt). He plans to sell a stake in the business or the whole thing.
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