Menomonee Falls-based Actuant Corp. is changing its name to Enerpac Tool Group, a move chief executive officer Randy Baker calls the “rebirth of a great brand.”
"It’s the rebirth of a very old brand and something that not only do our investors connect with but our customers for sure do and even more important our employees, they deserve to work for a company that has that sort of brand recognition,” Baker said. “It enables an employee to explain who do you work for and there’s a respect for the Enerpac business rather than trying to explain the complexity of a diversified company."
The company has already launched a rebranded website
and will begin trading under a new stock ticker, EPAC, on Oct. 7. The company's legal name change is subject to shareholder approval at its next annual meeting in January.
The Actuant name emerged in 2000 to carry on the diversified industrial businesses of Applied Power when that company’s electronics business was spun off as APW Ltd.
Baker noted that diversified industrial companies are typically more complicated, difficult to define and, in some cases, draw a different investor base. In recent years, Actuant has worked to transition away from a diversified model to instead focus on industrial tools for a number of markets.
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The biggest piece of the transition
, a $214.5 million deal to sell the company’s engineered components and systems division to New York private equity firm One Rock Capital partners LLC, is expected to close by the end of the year.
Baker said the deal is the culmination of the company’s transformation.
“It is the culmination of all this hard work to break up a business and sell components of it,” Baker said. “Essentially paying down large amounts of debt and coming out now with a very extraordinarily profitable business with a balance sheet most people would dream of, so that’s a very unique position to be in.”
He added it was important to change the company to identify its focus on tools from both a structural and symbolic standpoint.
“The naming convention of any company and the strategy behind it have to be consistent,” he said.
Enerpac was the obvious choice for the new company name, Baker said. The brand’s history with Applied Power dates back to 1958. The brand has remained part of the company, but has not been promoted as the parent company.
“If I would have told everybody my strategy three years ago, it was always the choice,” Baker said. “This was the business that needed to be unlocked.”
He equated the rebranding, and the opportunity for Enerpac to flourish, to Harley-Davidson’s emergence from AMF ownership in the early 1980s.
“Certainly we’re not to that magnitude of brand but it’s why it’s important. Power brands are what drive great companies and that’s exactly what we have,” Baker said.
Locally, the company does not expect any changes beyond the branding and Menomonee Falls will remain the company's headquarters. Enerpac also has two manufacturing facilities in the state, one in Columbus and the other in Antigo. The Antigo facility focuses on tools for the aerospace industry while Columbus has been a plant where Enerpac has brought additional work in the past.
“To the extent that we acquire or develop more products, the Columbus operation is going to benefit from that,” Baker said.