A diversified industrial company, Actuant makes electrical and industrial devices, such as wire connectors, switches, transformers, and tools (for wholesale and retail distribution) under such brand names as Acme Electric, Gardner Bender, Hydratight, and Kopp. Actuant's engineered solutions product line includes Power-Packer brand drive technology used in the hydraulic cab-tilt systems of heavy-duty trucks and automotive convertible tops. The company also offers cable, synthetic rope, pipeline connectors, and rental equipment for the energy industry. Customers have included such heavy hitters as Caterpillar, BorgWarner, BP, Petrofac, and West Marine.
Actuant has established operations in more than 30 countries, including Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.
Sales and Marketing
The company sells to retail outlets such as Home Depot and Ace Hardware. In addition to retail and wholesale distributors, Actuant caters to OEM and MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) customers engaged in automotive, medical, military, oil and gas, power generation, and infrastructure activities.
From 2011 to 2012 Actuant's total sales increased by 11% to $1.6 billion, its highest total since the recession. The increase was attributed to sales from acquired businesses and a 7% jump in sales from its Engineered Solutions segment. However, during that same time period, its profits decreased by 22%. The erosion in net income was attributed to a decrease in operating profits and the impact of unfavorable economic conditions, acquisitions, and changes in foreign currency exchange rates.
A flurry of acquisitions has been central to Actuant's recovery and growth. In July 2012 it acquired Sweden-based CrossControl, which provided advanced electronic products for user-machine interaction, vehicle control, and mobile connectivity, for about $40 million. CrossControl joined Actuant's Engineered Solutions segment. Months before, Actuant bought Brazil-based Turotest, a maker of instrument panels, gauges, and senders serving the South American agriculture and industrial markets.
In mid-2011 Actuant paid about $155 million for Weasler Engineering, a maker of drivetrain components and systems used in grain handling and hay foraging equipment, as well as some industrial applications. The deal enhanced Actuant's presence in the agriculture market, where higher food requirements worldwide are anticipated to generate strong capital investments by farmers.
Conversely, products that don't demonstrate long-term growth potential for the company are divested. Actuant completed its divestiture of its European Electrical business in early 2011. The business was put on the sale rack due to weak demand in Europe, particularly the retail do-it-yourself market. Palero Capital picked up the business for €4 million (about $5.5 million). – less