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Regal Beloit adds Unico to its portfolio

03 December, 2010

The acquisitive American motor-maker Regal Beloit is buying Unico, the US-based manufacturer of AC and DC drives, motor controllers and accessories, for an undisclosed sum. Regal Beloit’s CEO Henry Knueppel describes Unico as “one of the most exciting acquisitions in RBC`s history” and says it should be seen as “the start of an adjacent platform”.

Unico, whose headquarters are in Wisconsin, recorded sales worth $61.7m in the year to June, 2010. It has developed proprietary technologies in the fields of oil and gas recovery, commercial HVAC systems, test stand automation and other applications. The company, founded in 1967, has operations in Canada, Venezuela, the UK, Germany, China and Japan.

“Unico has experienced great organic growth and built a platform for dynamic future growth,” says Knueppel (above). “They have an incredibly talented leadership team that will create the nucleus of this new platform for Regal Beloit. We believe the marriage of our combined products will drive development and adoption of new energy efficient and intelligent solutions. We simply could not be more excited about this marriage.”

Tom Beck, Unico’s president and CEO, regards Regal Beloit as “a great home for the company we have built. Our companies have been on a similar course with complementary products and technologies. This marriage represents opportunities for faster growth and broader solutions. We too are excited about what the future holds.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

Regal Beloit has also acquired a 55% stake in the Elco group, which produces motors, fans and blowers and has manufacturing operations in Italy, China and Brazil. The deal strengthens Regal Beloit’s position in Europe, and expands its commercial refrigeration and air-moving products portfolio. Elco’s sales in 2011 are expected to be worth around $80m.

The Unico and Elco deals are the latest in a string of acquisitions that Regal Beloit has made around the world in recent years. Earlier this year it bought the Dutch motor supplier Rotor, as well as Australia’s CMG Engineering Group.

In 2007, it bought the fractional horsepower motor manufacturer Morrill Motors, as well as Alstom’s Indian motors and fans business. It also acquired the Fasco motors business, once owned by Invensys, for $220m.

In 2008, it bought the Chinese motor-maker Hwada for $27.6m and followed this by acquiring the Netherlands-based motor distributor Dutchi Motors, for $34m.

• Regal Beloit has announced that Mark Gliebe, currently its president and chief operating officer, will assume the role of CEO at the next annual shareholders’ meeting, expected to take place in May 2011. Henry Knueppel will stay on as executive chairman until the end of 2011 to complete an orderly transition.

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