22 Jul 2024


Swedish group snaps up Acorn Industrial Services

The Swedish industrial conglomerate, Axel Johnson International, has acquired the UK industrial parts distributor, Acorn Industrial Services Group, for an undisclosed sum. The deal strengthens Axel Johnson’s position in the UK market and expands its bearings and transmissions business.

Acorn distributes bearings, linear systems, power transmission and related services. Founded in 1983, the company now has a central distribution centre in Rotherham and nine sales branches across the UK. There is also an e-commerce platform that supports customers throughout Europe. Acorn’s annual sales are worth around £21m, and it employs about 100 people.

Acorn directors Martin Povey and Des Spillings will continue to lead the company. “Acorn has grown tremendously over the last ten years and to continue our growth, and more importantly, to grow at a quicker pace, we needed to align ourselves with a business that could bring with it skills and resources that we do not have currently,” Spillings explains. “With the European marketplace changing and consolidating quicker than at any time in the past 20 years, we had to find the right partner for the future and we believe Axel Johnson International to be this partner.”

“Acorn fits very well into the structure of our business and will be a valuable addition in our ambition to grow the bearings and transmissions business,” adds Mats Karlsson, CEO and president of Axel Johnson International. “Over the years, Axel Johnson International has invested in many leading niche players with strong positions in local markets and outstanding customer relations – companies that continue developing and thriving in their new setting.”

Acorn will become part of the AxIndustries business group, which specialises in bearings, transmissions and related services. “We see opportunities for continued growth, valuable synergies and promising partnerships with our other group companies,” says AxIndustries’ CEO, Ola Sjölin. “The addition of Acorn strengthens our customer offering and increases our geographical coverage, making us a more interesting partner for both customers and suppliers.”

Axel Johnson International, founded in 1873, provides products and services that help industrial customers to improve the efficiency, reliability, quality and safety of their operations. It has grown rapidly by making acquisitions, especially in Northern Europe, and now consists of 90 companies, all said to be leaders in their niches. Its previous UK acquisitions have included Certex (in 2008), Taps (in 2009) and Thames Valley Pumps (in 2011).

Headquartered in Stockholm, Axel Johnson International has annual sales worth SEK 6.5bn (£510m), 2,640 employees, and operations in more than 20 countries across Europe.