Woodhead Industries buys SST

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada— Citing the usual synergies, SST recently announced it was acquired at the end of July 1998 by Woodhead Industries Inc. (Deerfield, Ill.). Terms were not immediately available.Woodhead acquired the software and capital assets of SST's industrial communications technologies business.


Waterloo, Ontario, Canada — Citing the usual synergies, SST recently announced it was acquired at the end of July 1998 by Woodhead Industries Inc. (Deerfield, Ill.). Terms were not immediately available.

Woodhead acquired the software and capital assets of SST's industrial communications technologies business. However, Ian Suttie, P.E., SST's president, said in a recent statement that Woodhead is a vendor-neutral company that doesn't compete with any of SST's customers, distributors, or third-party partners. "Their business is the 'plumbing' of industrial automation—the cables, electrical devices, valves, and connectors—not the software, hardware, or integration of automation," says Mr. Suttie. "Thus, SST maintains its historical vendor-neutral position."

Mr. Suttie added that Woodhead also shares SST's basic business philosophy. "Simply stated, we believe the best approach is 'find smart people, give them interesting things to do, stay out of their way, and watch the business grow,' " says Mr. Suttie. "Woodhead has built its family of companies on the premise that the operating company knows its business best." As a result, SST will continue to operate autonomously, with all marketing and R&D decisions being made at the Waterloo office.

Acquistion advantages

SST is expected to have greater access to resources needed to expand the company. It can also accelerate its R&D pace, expand international marketing and customer support capabilities faster, and make investments in people and technology needed to solidify its position in industrial communications. For SST's manufacturing end-users, the acquisition will strengthen SST's customer support, especially in Europe and Japan, and help SST expand international operations.

"We intend to increase our engineering and technical support capabilities in our foreign offices—as well as increase the number of offices—to offer our customer support worldwide," adds Mr. Suttie. "SST now has the resources to fully implement our longstanding commitment to technical leadership and customer support in industrial communications. Our OEM customers, who embed our technology in their own products, will also benefit from this enhanced level of international customer support."

Woodhead develops, manufactures, and markets specialty electrical and electronics products, primarily serving the industrial automation and control market with connectivity solutions. It is comprised of 13 operating companies in 10 countries. Sales were $137 million in fiscal 1997. International sales were 28% of the total.

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