The cold, hard facts are that Colfax works hard to get customers pumped up. The company makes fluid handling products, including centrifugal, gear, progressive cavity, and rotary screw pumps under such brands as Allweiler, Houttuin, Imo, Warren, and Zenith. Colfax also makes valves and lubrication systems. Its products are used in cargo handling, oil transport, firefighting, chemical processing, and pipeline applications. Colfax counts Northrop Grumman, Alfa Laval, General Dynamics, GE, Siemens, Rolls-Royce, and the US Navy among its customers. It has production plants in China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the US; about two-thirds of sales come from outside the US.
Colfax sells through a global sales and marketing network, and through distributors in around 100 countries. The company's strategy for growth focuses on a number of core strengths, including the brand-name recognition held by its multiple businesses, its end-market and geographic diversification, and Colfax's custom engineering capacity and liquidity to pursue promising acquisition opportunities.
The need for power generating facilities in Asia and the Middle East may prove to be a boon for Colfax. Its fluid handling products can be found in fuel, hydro, and nuclear power plants. Accounting for about a quarter of sales in 2010, the aftermarket sales and service sector is another area of potential growth for the company. An aging global maritime fleet will increase the need for maintenance, repair and overhaul operations on ocean-going vessels.
Because Colfax acquires raw materials from a range of sources, shortages should not pose a problem. It's also able to keep inventories at manageable levels due to the short time needed to manufacture its products. The company estimates that nearly 75% of backlog orders from the end of 2010 will be shipped out in 2011.
The company traditionally acquires companies with an established marketplace presence. Warren Pumps, with more than a century of its own engineering history, provides specialized pumping system development to handle fuel, oil, and water transport for the US military and select industrial and marine customers. Zenith Pumps has been providing precision gear pumps to industries as varied as fiber and polymer processing to paints and food for more than 75 years.
In 2012 Colfax acquired 91% of Soldex for about $235 million from Inversiones Breca. Operating plants in Peru and Colombia, Soldex supplies welding products on the Pacific coast of South America. Soldex is being added to Colfax's ESAB unit, which was itself added to Colfax's operations with the purchase of Charter International plc in late 2011 for £1.5 billion ($2.4 billion). The deal added Charter's ESAB and Howden product lines and markets to Colfax's portfolio.
To drive its multiple business units, Colfax essentially acts as a centralized support system, allowing each business to act independently and market its respective products directly. Imo Pumps, for example, markets pumps used in chemical processing, marine, and power generation machinery, while Portland Valve is a major contractor for the US Navy, supplying valves, actuators, and other components used on naval vessels.
Across the Atlantic, Allweiler is Germany's oldest pump maker with 140 years of experience. Its Netherlands-based Houttuin provides low-pressure pumps to the petrochemical, power, shipbuilding, food, beverage, and plastics industries, and, like its US counterpart, Imo AB offers three-screw pumps for non-corrosive chemicals and lubricants.
Another leap across the globe to India finds Colfax's only Asian business unit, Tushaco, which provides all kinds of pumps to various industries in India and nearby countries. Local offices and a manufacturing facility in China are helping to establish its presence in the Asia/Pacific region. – less