Briggs & Stratton to acquire Allmand Bros.

Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. announced that it has agreed to acquire Holdrege, Neb.-based Allmand Bros Inc. for $62 million.

Allmand Bros. designs and manufactures high quality towable light towers, industrial heaters and solar LED arrow boards used for construction, roadway, oil and gas, mining and sporting and special events. It has about $80 million in annual sales and sells its products and parts in 40 countries. Briggs will acquire all of the outstanding shares of the company, and the deal is expected to close in the next 30 days.

“This acquisition helps us to further our strategic initiative of focusing on attractive higher margin, commercial end use products,” said Todd Teske, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton. “The acquisition of Allmand augments our higher margin commercial product portfolio, expands our market access to include the rental channel, and helps diversify our business into industry segments that we do not meaningfully participate in today.  In addition, we believe this acquisition will accelerate our sales growth in the U.S. and abroad.  We look forward to welcoming the management team and the employees of Allmand to our team, and building upon the strong foundation that has made Allmand a highly successful company.”

Teske said in a conference call this morning that the Allmand deal is a strategic fit similar to its other recent acquisitions.

“When we look at acquisitions, we look at market knowledge and product, and we look at distribution channels,” Teske said.

“For over 75 years, Allmand has been producing innovative products that make customer worksites brighter, warmer, safer, and more productive,” said Roger Allmand, chairman of Allmand Bros. “The combination of Allmand with Briggs & Stratton will provide even more opportunities for our people and our customers.  With a proven track record of operating successfully for over 100 years, we believe that Briggs & Stratton will be able to accelerate our presence globally.”

Briggs & Stratton announced the acquisition in its fourth quarter 2014 earnings report today.

The company reported net income of $7.8 million, or 17 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $55 million, or $1.17 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Net sales were $496.8 million, up from $477.2 million in the same period a year ago.

For the full year, Briggs reported net income of $28.3 million, or 59 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $33.7 million, or 73 cents per share, in 2013.

Net sales for the year were $1.9 billion, flat from 2013.

The company attributed the flat sales to a quiet storm season. Last year was a bit of an anomaly, since there was pent up demand that drove higher sales, Teske said on the conference call.

Also, restructuring actions related to narrowing the company’s assortment of lower-priced Snapper brand consumer lawn and garden products resulted in costs of $1.4 million for the quarter and $6.5 million for the year.

“Despite a slower than normal start to the lawn and garden season this spring, we saw improved sales results for our engines and products due to the new innovative products launched this year and market share gains made within the large engine category,” Teske said. “In addition to higher sales, we saw margin expansion in our engines business even as we continued to invest in our future with new product launches and building out our international sales distribution in emerging regions. Within our Products segment, our new pressure washer product launches and our commercial lawn and garden business continued to perform well even as we saw reduced demand for generators in the U.S. following an uneventful storm season and lower pre-season snow thrower sales to our European customers due to a significantly below normal snow season in Europe last winter.”

The board of directors has also approved another $50 million in share repurchases.

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