Belden, Ferraz Shawmut expands; Leviton in control

25 July 2008

Belden combined European business units including Hirschmann; Ferraz Shawmut parent acquires majority stake in Zhejiang Mingrong Electrical Protection; and Leviton Manufacturing Co. Inc. buys controlling share of itself from Thomas & Betts Corp. for approximately $300 million (€200 million). The news affects industrial networks and electrical power control and power protection.

Business news
Business news

Belden Inc. has combined its affiliated Belden Europe (Venlo, The Netherlands), HEW-Kabel (Wipperfürth, Germany), Hirschmann Automation and Control (Neckartenzlingen, Germany), and Lumberg Automation (Schalksmühle, Germany) companies into the new business unit Belden EMEA.

Operational headquarters will be located in the greater area of Stuttgart, Germany. With more than 2,200 employees worldwide, the four companies combine expertise in the field of data transmission. Belden EMEA, with a portfolio of copper and fibre-optic cables, plus automation components, will provide solutions for communications technology in automation. The unit plans to complement its activities with proprietary developments and acquisitions. Turnover, approximately €550 million in 2007, is expected to double over the next few years.

The new business unit forms an umbrella for five operating divisions that include Industrial Networking, Industrial Connecting Solutions, Electronic Control Systems, Cable Infrastructure, and Cable Specialty. Products range from data cables and connectors to I/O modules and networking devices. Wireless communication systems will play an increasingly important role in Belden EMEA.

Wolfgang Babel, who headed Hirschmann and Lumberg Automation, was named president of Belden EMEA. ‘While hitherto we have been serving the automotive technology market mainly with components, we will now also concentrate on industry specific solutions in which our products are optimised to the needs of our customers and will be offered in comprehensive packages, including the required maintenance.’ To better serve relevant vertical markets (mechanical engineering, energy, traffic, food and beverage), sales will focus on regional needs of customers.

According to Babel, ‘In view of our comprehensive product portfolio from standard to special cables and various different fieldbus interfaces to Ethernet components, this approach is essential, if only because regional markets today show clear differences in their respective industry mix, customer composition, instrumentation philosophy, market access and legal regulations. Of course we will maintain and expand proven sales channels according to market conditions. By providing comprehensive services from advice and planning to training and technical support, we will help our customers with the implementation of tailor-made networking and communications structures for integral data transmission consistency from the central control to the PLC and down to the field layer.’

Belden EMEA will produce systems and components in the Electronic Control Systems division for load indication, load moment limitation and overload control for cranes and equipment such as telehandlers, aerial work platforms, or excavators. Babel added, ‘Here, we already offer complete solutions from sensors and controllers to consoles, which have made us the world leader in this market segment.’ Belden Inc. is based in St. Louis, USA.

Ferraz Shawmut parent acquires majority stake in Zhejiang Mingrong Electrical Protection: Ferraz Shawmut, a leader in the field of circuit protection and subsidiary of the Carbone Lorraine Group, has acquired a majority share in China’s Zhejiang Mingrong Electrical Protection (MEP). The joint venture expands Carbone Lorraine’s Asian presence and positions Ferraz Shawmut as a platform for product development for Asian markets.

Privately-held, MEP deals in the fuse and fusegear market, claiming the most extensive product range of all Chinese market participants. The company, based in Zhejiang province, known as the cradle of Chinese electrical development, posted sales around €10 million last year. MEP’s vertical integration – plastic injection-moulding, metal components and tooling – represents a strength that will accelerate the pace at which Carbone Lorraine’s Electrical Protection division develops sourcing in China.

Electrification needs and strong demand for sophisticated equipment for power generation, distribution, and control applications have made China a prime market. Pooling the complementary product ranges of Ferraz Shawmut and MEP, together with stronger commercial positions at distributors and OEMs, is expected to drive a substantial sales increase in China and export markets.

‘MEP is the leading, and most profitable, power fuse and fusegear company in China, offering a comprehensive range of fuses from a sophisticated and vertically integrated manufacturing facility,’ says Ken Hooper, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Ferraz Shawmut. ‘This strategic alliance offers us an exciting new global growth dimension.’

MEP manufactures and sells, under the brand name Miro, IEC products and brand-labelled products. The company traditionally exported about 45 per cent of production to Spain, the UK, Russia, Southeast Asia, Italy, and the U.S.

Anticipated production and revenue synergies are predicted to drive sales growth at double the pace of that in the Chinese market at large. The majority stake is expected to immediately enhance Carbone Lorraine earnings. Ferraz Shawmut is based in Newburyport, USA.

Leviton regains control with $300 million stock purchase: Leviton Manufacturing Co. has announced the purchase of a 29.1 per cent minority interest in its stock held by Thomas & Betts Corporation since 1994, for a cash tender of approximately $300 million. Leviton’s purchase of Thomas & Betts’ minority interest secures its long-term strategic objective of restoration of total ownership of the third-generation family business to the Leviton family and continuation of a policy to remain privately held and operated.

Founded in 1906, Leviton manufacturers electrical wiring devices, network solutions, energy management, and lighting control products. The company says that its products are used in nine out of ten homes in the U.S. and Canada and in commercial facilities, industrial plants, and OEM operations. Independent surveys have shown Leviton to lead in brand preference among builders, electrical contractors, architects, specifying engineers, and users. Leviton is located in Little Neck, USA.

– Control Engineering News Desk

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