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Infranor buys US servo motor specialist, Automotion

01 December, 2000

Swiss industrial automation supplier Infranor Inter is buying the US servomotor specialist, Automation, for an undisclosed amount. Infranor hopes that the acquisition, due to be completed by the end of the year, will boost its presence in the American market.

Automotion, founded in 1983, specialises in permanent magnet brushless drives, primarily selling embedded systems to the OEM machine-building market. Its range spans single- and three-phase systems up to 30A, with 60A versions in the pipeline. Since 1985, the Michigan-based company has sold more than 60,000 servo-amplifiers. It employs 40 people and is expected to generate sales this year of $6.5m.

Automation operates in the same field as Infranor`s existing subsidiaries in Lourdes, France, and Berlin, Germany. Until now, Infranor has served the American market via a sales and engineering operation in Connecticut. It intends to keep, and to build on, Automotion`s existing management, manufacturing and technical abilities.

Infranor has earmarked the US, the UK and Germany as high potential markets in which it wants to expand. Together, the North American and European markets that it targets are worth around $1,700m and are growing by 6-7% a year. In the year to April 2000, Infranor`s sales grew by 11.3% to SFr73.1m (£28.9m) and its net profit rose by 10.3% to SFr5.3m (£2.1m).

Sal Spada, an automation analyst with the ARC Advisory Group, sees the acquisition as an example of the way that motion control companies are using growing revenues to expand their businesses. "There is no time left for companies to develop a market presence by internal development of business alone," he says. "If a motion control company does not have a merger and acquisition strategy today, it will simply become a target for acquisition."




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