Power transmission products may not be on anyone's Christmas list, but Santa's workshop couldn't groove without the parts that Motion Industries sells. A subsidiary of Genuine Parts, the company drives Genuine's industrial parts business segment. Motion Industries distributes a slew of bearings, hoses, material handling, and linear motion products. The short list of offerings includes electrical (motors and drives) and mechanical (belts, clutches, and chains), as well as fluid (pneumatic and hydraulic) power transmission replacement parts, supplied by big brands like Bosch Rexroth, Eaton, NSK, and Timken. Motion Industries serves its customers through about 500 locations across North America.
The company's broad customer-base is a key strength, somewhat protecting Motion Industries from tough economic swings. Customers draw from automotive as well as chemical, food and beverage, forestry, mining, paper and pulp, petrochemical, and steel industries, and various government defense departments. Moreover, Motion Industries' operations are founded upon a lineup that is heavily used in recurring activities, such as maintenance, repair, and overhaul.
The decline of manufacturing activity in North America, due in part to the recent economic slowdown, has taken its toll on Motion Industries. After showing an increase of about 5% in 2008 compared to the previous year, Motion Industries saw sales fall 18% in 2009. The company has purchase agreements with existing customers that equal about 40% of its sales. All told, Motion Industries accounts for about 30% of its parent company's revenue.
Nonetheless, the company continues to pursue acquisitions that build its distribution platform, currently spanning some 500 locations, along with nine distribution centers, largely in the US. Its revolving door of pickups usually taps smaller regional distributors, as evidenced by its acquisition in early 2011 of D.P. Brown of Detroit. D.P. Brown, an independent distributor of industrial parts (power transmissions, pulleys and conveyor belting, bearings, and idlers) and related support services, tucks in four locations that cater to customers in Michigan, Illinois, Indian, and Ohio. In the same spirit, Motion Industries in 2010 purchased of the North American assets of BC Bearing, a family-owned distributor of bearing and power transmission products. The deal -- which includes BC Bearing and US Bearings -- enables Motion Industries to reach into Canada and the northwestern US -- regions where the company sees potential for growth. The previous year Motion Industries acquired General Tool & Supply Co., and Monroe Rubber and Plastic Supply Co. On its heels, Drago Supply, Ruston Industrial, Hydraulic Depot, and Gerrish Bearing were purchased. – less