New Zealand airport-baggage and parcel-handling systems company Glidepath has been sold to French robotics firm B2A Technology.

Privately owned Glidepath was founded by Sir Ken Stevens 47 years ago and he said it was the right time to sell.

"The sale will allow Glidepath to build on its strong performance and prospects with a new owner who has the right synergies, capabilities and customer-centric values to step up and take the business to the next level of growth," he said.

Glidepath has grown rapidly in the past decade as international travel has boomed and parcel traffic has grown.


The terms of the deal haven't been disclosed.

Sir Ken, who was knighted in 2007, will step down as executive chairman of the company, which has its headquarters in New Zealand and more than 1000 projects in 68 countries.

Glidepath has a centre of excellence for automated modular product and proprietary software development and a manufacturing and prototype plant in Auckland.

It also has a network of regional offices operating across Canada, USA, Latin America, India (where a manufacturing plant is also located), South Africa, the Pacific and Australasia.

Glidepath systems are found in airports all around the world. Photo / Supplied
Glidepath systems are found in airports all around the world. Photo / Supplied

The company employs more than 300 engineers, controls and software designers, programmers, marketers and relationship managers from all around the world.

B2A Technology provides equipment for the logistics, airport and healthcare markets.
The company's president, Pierre Marol, said the purchase of Glidepath will boost the growth potential of the combined group, which will have over 900 workers in 10 countries over five continents.

"The B2A Technology Group, which now includes Alstef, BA Systèmes and Glidepath, can offer a wider global market presence, expanding and complementary product range and greater commercial strength,'' Marol said.

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Marol said it would be business as usual for Glidepath and status quo for the Glidepath brand, management, staff, marketing and manufacturing networks while a joint strategy is developed.

Glidepath group general manager Natalie Bilyard said there would be opportunities to leverage technical and commercial systems and synergies to grow the business.

"We have complementary customer offerings and do not compete in the same markets," she said.

Stevens, who has been a champion of New Zealand manufacturing and exporting, said he will continue to do that and support the West Auckland community and ''encourage the incubation and development of fresh innovations''.

He was a former chairman of Export NZ.

B2A Technology is the holding company for Alstef and BA Systèmes. Alstef has designed hundreds of integrated systems for airport and logistics facilities and has subsidiaries in
Canada, Turkey, Russia and Croatia.

BA Systèmes is the French leader in AGV (automated guided vehicles), employs 600 people and generates €120 million ($207m) of annual revenue.