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Brook Hansen dies; Brook Crompton is reborn

01 January, 2000

Brook Hansen dies; Brook Crompton is reborn


Invensys has renamed its Brook Hansen motors business Invensys Brook Crompton, reverting to the name used before BTR (as Invensys was then known) took over Hawker Siddeley in 1991.

Brook Hansen was formed in 1993, when BTR merged Brook Crompton with Hansen Transmissions to form a combined motors and transmissions business. Invensys now argues that the motors side of the operation has developed significantly since then with new operations in France, Poland, China and India, as well as the inverter-motor joint venture with Danfoss, Viking FC Motors.

The motors business is now so large that it is being managed separately from the transmissions business, Invensys says. A spokesman points out that most motors do not have a gearbox attached. The Hansen part of the business is being integrated with Rexnord.

The change in name came as Invensys reported that profits from its industrial drives systems division fell by 10.7% in the 6 months to October, compared to the previous first half. Orders were down 2.4% and sales down 0.2% to £590m. Invensys blames a drop in demand triggered by the 1998 Asian economic crisis and a cut in capital spending elsewhere in the world.

Hardest hit by the downturn were Brook Crompton and Invensys Air Systems (formerly CompAir) which were also suffered from the effects of the strong pound. By comparison the electronic drives division, including Eurotherm, had a "solid" first half in both sales and profit. Invenys says that the sales decline in the industrial drives business "was real and hurt our profitability".

The company has therefore been cutting costs by, for example, closing its lamination plant in Honley with the loss of around 150 jobs, and transferring its Bull DC motors production from Ipswich to Blackheath. More manufacturing is now being done in lower-cost countries such as India and China, where Invensys has formed a joint venture.

At present, this makes special motors for applications such as hoists, but will later start to produce general-purpose machines. Invensys says that it expects to see the savings from these measures coming through in the second half of the financial year. There is speculation that Invensys may sell its pneumatics division - including the former CompAir - as part of its strategy to become an automation and controls group.

IMI and Parker Hannifin have been mentioned as possible buyers for the division which could fetch £250m. Invensys recently sold its automotive fluid handling division for £151m and bought the US uninterruptible power supplies specialist Best Power for £145m.

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