Belden to buy Hirschmann, citing Ethernet, wireless, fiber-optics allure


St. Louis, MoBelden agreed to purchase Hirschmann Automation and Control GmbH (HAC) from HgCapital, a European private equity investor, for approximately $260 million in cash. Belden says HAC is “a leading supplier of industrial Ethernet solutions and industrial connectivity,” citing that as a major reason for the acquisition, along with HAC’s wireless and fiber-optic technologies.

Along with the purchase price, Belden will be responsible for certain obligations, including pension liabilities of approximately $60 million to be funded in future years. The companies anticipate the transaction to close in approximately 45 days, they said in a Jan. 30 statement. Belden expects the transaction will be accretive to 2007 earnings. HAC products include network components for Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet; fiber-optic interfaces for fieldbus systems; and electrical connectors for actuators and sensors. HAC also provides electronic control systems for load indication and load moment limitation.

John Stroup, Belden president and chief executive officer, says the: "acquisition of Hirschmann is a major achievement in our pursuit to expand our business in desirable end-markets, beyond cable, to signal transmission solutions. In addition to having a broad portfolio of connectors for the industrial market, Hirschmann is the undisputed leader in the application of Industrial Ethernet solutions. We couldn't be more excited to have Hirschmann as part of the Belden family.

"Hirschmann has leveraged its knowledge of industrial automation into a leading position in digital communication for manufacturing and large-scale infrastructure projects," Stroup continues. "Industrial Ethernet is an open system that allows the integration of a wide variety of equipment and provides for an interface between the industrial network and the enterprise network. Adoption of Industrial Ethernet among our customers is in early stages but is increasing rapidly because of these compelling advantages. In the short run, we see a tremendous opportunity to use Belden's global reach to accelerate HAC's revenue growth in North America and Asia. In the long run, we expect to thoughtfully integrate the capabilities of Hirschmann and Belden to create products and services for the industrial market that are preferred worldwide. We continue to investigate opportunities that advance our presence in emerging geographies and expand our solutions beyond copper cable," Stroup adds.

HAC is led by Reinhard Sitzmann, chief executive officer, who, the companies say, will continue in that role. HAC has its headquarters in Neckartenzlingen, Germany, two production locations in Germany, and three manufacturing joint ventures in China. In addition to its Industrial Ethernet and connectivity product lines, HAC has a leading position in electronic control and safety systems for cranes and other load-bearing equipment. HAC had 2006 revenues of approximately $250 million and employs 750 people.

Sitzmann says HAC and Belden products and market positions are “highly complementary. Belden will be able to strengthen HAC's market presence in North America and Asia. We welcome this combination with Belden and look forward to a creative and dynamic future."

A German company, Hirschmann was founded in 1924, and today has the leading global market share in rail-mounted Industrial Ethernet devices, the company says, as well as a strong position in industrial connectivity within the European market. HAC had revenues in 2006 of approximately $250 million. Its three divisions are: INET (Industrial Ethernet, and fiber-optic interfaces), ICON (Industrial Connectors), and ECS (Electronic Control Systems).

Belden says it’s a leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of signal transmission products for data networking and a wide range of specialty electronics markets, including entertainment, industrial, security, and aerospace applications.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief,

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