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Sumitomo buys Welsh drives-maker, Invertek, for £100m

27 September, 2019

Japan’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) is buying the Welsh driver-maker, Invertek Drives, for around £100m (13 billion Japanese Yen). SHI says it is planning “significant investment” to expand and develop Invertek, and intends to combine Invertek’s motor control products with the portfolio of industrial motors that it acquired when it bought the Italian motor-maker Lafert last year.

Invertek’s global headquarters and manufacturing operations are located in Welshpool, Powys. It employs 245 people and exports more than 90% of its output to more than 80 countries. It has seen significant year-on-year growth since it was established in 1998, and reported a turnover of £36m ($44.3m) in the year to September 2018. In January 2019, it opened a new manufacturing and distribution facility to expand its flexible high-mix, low-volume production capabilities.

SHI is acquiring Invertek’s entire share capital. Invertek’s board of directors will continue to manage the business as a separate operation within SHI. The board comprises: chairman, Kevin Curran; operations director, Charles Haspel; sales and marketing director, Rhydian Welson; technical director, Glyn Jones; innovation director, Dr David Jones; and finance director, Adrian Ellam. They will be joined by Tommy Tighe, managing director of Invertek Drives in Ireland.

“2019 is a significant year for us at Invertek,” says operations director Charles Haspel. “We are celebrating our 21st anniversary, the opening of our new 5,500m2 global manufacturing and distribution centre, and now the investment by Sumitomo Heavy Industries through its acquisition.

“SHI is committed to driving forward Invertek’s ambitious growth plans, investing in innovation to develop next-generation VFD technology,” he adds. “We have a world-class team of experts in innovation, manufacturing and marketing of drive technology at our UK headquarters, which we plan to grow as part of our long-term global strategy.”

SHI manufactures and distributes power transmission and control (PTC) equipment under the Sumitomo Drive Technologies brand. Its strategy is to strengthen and expand its business by integrating new technologies in the areas of electric motors and VSDs, and to achieve global growth in target segments including robotics, positioning, materials-handling, intralogistics, and food and beverage manufacturing.

Invertek carries out research and development, including EMC testing, at its global headquarters in Wales

As part of this strategy, SHI last year acquired the Italian motor manufacturer Lafert, expanding its business in terms of both portfolio and global market reach.

Invertek’s technology and production capabilities will allow SHI to extend its motor controls portfolio which, it says, is becoming increasingly important as demand for IoT, automation, productivity and energy-saving technologies and applications grows.

SHI plans to combine the Lafert and Invertek portfolios with the aim of creating an integrated platform based in Europe – which it regards as the technology hub of its target market – with capabilities to provide a wide range of products including gears, motors and controls.

The deal is expected to close in early November, 2019.

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