West Germany: Surprise Bid

With Fritz-Aurel Goergen, the boss of West Germany's Henschel Works, awaiting trial on charges that he cheated the government in a $16 million tank deal, businessmen have been wondering what would happen to the vast heavy-equipment firm he made one of Germany's most profitable. Last week Essen's Rheinische Stahlwerke ended the speculation by making a bid to purchase Henschel, a move that would catapult the enlarged firm to third place among Germany's coal and steel giants (after Thyssen and Krupp).

Rheinstahl sells steel to Henschel, whose production of heavy trucks complements Rheinstahl's lighter line. Most important, Henschel is at...

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