EQT Private Equity has agreed to sell Hartland-based conveyor maker Dorner Manufacturing Corp. to Columbus McKinnon Corp., a New York-based maker of motion control and automation products.
The deal, which values Dorner at $485 million, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
“The acquisition of Dorner provides a catalyst for growth in extremely attractive markets and begins the process of reimagining the future of Columbus McKinnon,” said David Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Columbus McKinnon.
Dorner has around 400 employees with its largest facility in Hartland and other locations in Mexico, Germany and Malaysia.
"We are getting a very talented leadership team with a proven track record of performance and strong relationships, deep technical expertise and a breadth of knowledge regarding their industry and the players that operate within it," Wilson said.
Dorner was acquired by EQT in 2017 from Incline Equity Partners, another private equity firm, which had owned the company since the founding Dorner brothers retired in 2012.
The company’s revenue had grown from $70 million in fiscal 2016 to an expected $125 million in the current fiscal year. Dorner’s EBITDA had also grown from $15 million to an expected $31 million.
“With the support of EQT, Dorner has strengthened our internal infrastructure, expanded our solutions set and gained share in high growth end markets that will continue to benefit from Dorner’s unique capabilities in the coming years,” said Terry Schadeberg, CEO of Dorner. "We thank EQT for its guidance and counsel through the last four years. Columbus McKinnon is an excellent strategic fit for Dorner and we are thrilled to partner with them in this next phase of growth.”
Wilson said specialty conveying is an attractive vertical for Columbus McKinnon, which makes hoists, crane components, actuators, rigging tools, light rail workstations and digital power and motion control systems.
He said the company reached out to EQT and positioned itself well for a formal auction process.
Greg Rustowicz, chief financial officer of Columbus McKinnon, said the revenue growth Dorner has experienced in recent years gave the company confidence to pay around 15.5x Dorner’s EBITDA.
Columbus McKinnon said it could achieve around $5 million in cost savings through the deal by fiscal 2023. Rustowicz said those savings would come from sourcing, operations and other areas like professional services.
“It’s really all about the growth,” Rustowicz said.
Wilson said there is some overlap in customers and end-markets between the two businesses that could also lead to additional sales opportunities. He also noted that the growing connectedness of machines and the need for high-speed, high-precision equipment makes the ability to create an automation ecosystem of equipment “pretty interesting.”
This is not the first time Columbus McKinnon has acquired a Waukesha County company. In 2015, the company bought Menomonee Falls-based Magnetek for $188.9 million.