Thomas & Betts (T&B) bets on its good connections. The company provides electrical connectors, HVAC equipment, and transmission towers to the commercial construction, industrial, and utility markets through thousands of distributor locations and wholesalers in North America. Its segments include electrical (electrical connectors, enclosures, raceways, installation tools); HVAC (heaters, gas-fired duct furnaces, and evaporative cooling products); and steel structures (poles and transmission towers for power companies). Brands include Color-Keyed, Elastimold, Kindorf, Red Dot, Reznor, and Steel City. In mid-2012, T&B was acquired by power and automation technology powerhouse ABB Ltd.
ABB paid about $3.9 billion for T&B in order to double its low-voltage products inventory and gain significant ground in the US market. Zurich-based ABB has established a presence in about 100 countries and is primarily known for selling circuit breakers, switchgear, transformers, sensors, breakers, switches, generators and power electronics systems.
ABB has purchased a company that has bounced back after the recession. T&B has seen both its profits and revenues increase each year from 2009 to 2011. Its net income rose by 31% ($146 million to $190 million) and its revenues were up by 15% ($2 billion to $2.3 billion) from 2010 to 2011. However, before it was purchased by ABB, T&B reported it owed almost $575 million in debt in its 2011 annual report filed February 2012.
Before it was acquired, T&B's growth strategy featured the use of acquisitions. In mid-2011 it snapped up AmbiRad, a provider of radiant heaters, warm air systems, and air curtain heating products, for about $30 million in cash. In 2010 T&B purchased power protection equipment provider JT Packard & Associates (based in Wisconsin). The $22 million deal expanded T&B's service capacity in preventative maintenance and emergency service for a variety of power sources in both commercial and industrial markets. T&B also took over PMA AG, a privately held European maker of cable protection systems used in a variety of industrial applications. The approximate $115 million acquisition gave T&B greater access to markets in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as boosting its portfolio of industrial cable products.
Later the same year, T&B paid £70 million (about $110 million) to acquire UK-based Cable Management Group (CMG), a privately held maker of cable protection systems for industrial and construction applications. CMG's product lines complemented both T&B's existing products and the cable protection products added with the purchase of PMA earlier in the year. It also broadened T&B's presence outside of North America and strengthened the company's portfolio of industrial electrical components.
T&B has manufacturing facilities in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and the US.