Shares of Amazon.com (AMZN 0.64%) climbed 2.7% on Friday after the e-commerce titan moved to bolster its robotics expertise.
Amazon struck a deal to acquire Cloostermans. The Belgium-based company designs and manufactures cutting-edge technology that can be used to move items through warehouses more efficiently. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Amazon's relationship with Cloostermans began in 2019. The e-commerce giant uses Cloostermans' tools to move heavy pallets and totes through its warehouses. Now, Amazon wants to use the tech company's engineering expertise to develop more advanced solutions, which it hopes will enhance its employees' productivity, reduce waste, and improve worker safety at its warehouses.
"As we continue to broaden and accelerate the robotics and technology we design, engineer and deploy across our operations, we look forward to welcoming Cloostermans to Amazon and are excited to see what we can build together," Amazon executive Ian Simpson said in a blog post.
Cloostermans' roughly 200 employees will join Amazon's robotics team. Amazon purchased robot maker Kiva Systems for $775 million in 2012. Since then, it has deployed over 500,000 robots across its global fulfillment network. That includes Proteus, Amazon's first fully autonomous mobile robot, which began operating in its warehouses earlier this year.
Automation is expected to be a key priority for Amazon in the coming years. A tight labor market is leading to wage inflation, which is taking a toll on the company's profit margins. Robots could help to offset higher labor costs, thereby boosting Amazon's profitability.