Controls companies merge into larger, global firms

Acquiring companies that produce and market industrial controls appears to be good business. Because the big-fish-eat-the-little-fish scenario seems to be more prevalent in this market, it can be hard to find independent, traditional controls companies. Corporate image prevails most of the time, and acquired company names are absorbed into larger firms, relegating reputations and products...

12/01/1998


Acquiring companies that produce and market industrial controls appears to be good business. Because the big-fish-eat-the-little-fish scenario seems to be more prevalent in this market, it can be hard to find independent, traditional controls companies. Corporate image prevails most of the time, and acquired company names are absorbed into larger firms, relegating reputations and products to brand names. We almost need a scorecard to track who owns who.

There are very few autonomous process control companies left, such as Moore Products. Recent acquisitions include: Elsag-Bailey (by ABB), Wonderware (by Siebe) and Keystone Valve (by Tyco). Independent discrete control manufacturers are even harder to find.

How big are the giants that digest industrial controls firms? Business Week magazine tracks the world's companies and publishes its Global 1000 report, ranking them by market capitalization. The companies listed (see table) are those most identifiable as having subsidiaries or divisions heavily engaged in marketing controls products. The portion of companies' sales in controls varies from a high of about 25% for Emerson and Honeywell to a low of about 1% for General Electric. Even so, 1% of GE, No. 1 in the Global 1000, is still a sizable amount.

U.S.-based firms make a strong showing in the Global 1000, with eight of the top 10 and 14 of the top 20. The U.S. is home to 480 of the world's top 1,000 companies, which is 33 more than on last year's list. The U.S. has more than four times as many companies as No. 2 (Japan) or No. 3 (Britain). Still, European firms comprise more than a third of the list (350), which is 54 more than last year.

In the controls field, the U.S.'s presence is even more pervasive. Of the 22 companies identified here (see chart) from the Global 1000, 17 have their headquarters in the U.S.

As market value becomes a primary measure of corporate success, the acquisitive gleam in the eyes of many giant U.S. corporations and the luster associated with industrial controls companies, is likely to fuel more mergers in the near future.

Nations with the most Global 1000 Companies

U.S. 480 Japan 116
Source: Control Engineering with data from Business Week, Global 1000 report, 1998
Britain115France51
Germany46Canada31
Italy24Netherlands24
Sweden22Switzerland20


Leading controls manufacturers

Company name Location Rank in home country Rank globally Market value (in millions) 1997 sales (in millions)
NR=not rated, *Nine months data, **Halliburton's acquisition of Dresser Industries in September will make it 102 in the U.S and 198 global
Source: Control Engineering with data from Business Week, Global 1000 report, 1998
General ElectricU.S.11271,63890,840
SchlumbergerU.S.568838,89810,648
SiemensGermany89737,06259,979
Tyco International*U.S.6311732,2897,588
ABBSwedenNR12615,11731,265
EmersonU.S.7614526,89512,299
CBSU.S.9017322,8005,363
Groupe SchneiderFrance1931912,9267,922
SiebeU.K.4032612,5934,901
Halliburton**U.S.16333212,4928,819
Rockwell Intl.U.S.19239910,8087,762
HoneywellU.S.20041010,5888,028
Dover Corp.U.S.2475168,3624,548
Dresser Industries**U.S.2535278,1717,419
Baker HughesU.S.3356876,1103,685
Mitsubishi ElectricJapan908115,08327,424
Johnson ControlsU.S.3928165,03411,145
Parker-HannifinU.S.4298944,5404,091
ITT IndustriesU.S.4459244,3688,777
Analog DevicesU.S.4729814,0161,243





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