Wisconsin Manufacturing News

Johnson Controls seeks to acquire Visteon Corp.; Oshkosh Corp. lands another military contract; Brady Corp. reports robust quarter; $70 million expansion planned for Waukesha Electric Systems plant

Johnson Controls seeks to acquire Visteon Corp.

Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. is seeking to acquire Visteon Corp. for $1.25 billion in cash.

Johnson Controls sent a letter to Visteon, expressing its interest in the acquisition, subject

to due diligence, the execution of a definitive agreement and the approval of its board of directors.

Visteon is based in Van Buren Township, Mich.

"We believe that Visteon’s interiors and electronics businesses would be an excellent strategic fit with our Automotive Experience business," said Stephen Roell, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson Controls. "This acquisition would significantly expand our automotive interior technologies and capabilities. It would provide global scale and complementary products to our automotive electronics offerings. Importantly, it would broaden and deepen our global automotive customer relationships."

Visteon interiors and electronics businesses are leaders in the fast-growing Chinese automotive interiors industry.

In China, both Visteon and Johnson Controls do business primarily through non-consolidated joint ventures. With the addition of Visteon’s operations, Johnson Controls Automotive Experience consolidated and non-consolidated revenues in China could exceed an estimated $7 billion in 2011.

Visteon’s major customers and Chinese joint venture partner support the transaction, according to Johnson Controls.

Johnson Controls initially contacted Visteon regarding its interest in the interiors and electronics businesses in January 2010.

Oshkosh Corp. lands another military contract

Oshkosh Corp. has received four more delivery orders valued at more than $234.8 million from the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) to supply more than 4,300 MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) protection kits.

Oshkosh Corp. will deliver more than 3,800 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) protection kits, as well as more than 500 explosively formed penetrator (EFP) add-on armor kits and in-field service and parts. Work under the orders is expected to be completed in April 2011.

The company has now received awards to deliver more than 7,500 RPG protection kits and more than 1,300 EFP armor kits.

"The M-ATV gives Warfighters MRAP-level survivability, and these kits will provide further protection from threats on the battlefield," said Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense. "We continue to support the U.S. Armed Forces with the complete spectrum of sustainment services for the M-ATV, including the more than 2,000 in theater."

To date, Oshkosh has received awards valued at more than $5 billion for 8,079 M-ATVs, upgrade kits, spare-parts kits and sustainment support. The vehicle is designed to deliver the survivability and off-road mobility needed for harsh environments, such as those found in Afghanistan.


Brady Corp. reports robust quarter

Milwaukee-based Brady Corp. reported that its fiscal third quarter net income rose 31.9 percent to $23.7 million, or 45 cents per share, from $18.0 million, or 34 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Brady’s quarterly sales grew 16.3 percent to $321.9 million from $276.7 million a year earlier.

“We are pleased to see organic sales growth return in all regions, as well as improvement in our profitability. While we remain cautious about the stability of the global economy, we continue to invest in our future with robust new product development and other organic growth programs to expand the breadth of our product offerings and increase our market share. We are also investing in initiatives to streamline our SG&A functions, similar to the lean activities and Brady Business Performance System that we have been using to drive improvements in the operations area," said Brady president and chief executive officer Frank Jaehnert.

“Additional third quarter highlights include the acquisition of Securimed, a direct marketer of first-aid supplies in France. And the generation of cash flow from operations of $50.0 million increased our cash position to $207.1 million at April 30, 2010. We also completed a EUR75 million debt offering on May 13, 2010. This, along with our untapped bank revolving line of credit, provides us with significant flexibility to take advantage of future growth opportunities," said Brady chief financial officer Thomas Felmer.

$70 million expansion planned for Waukesha Electric Systems plant

Charlotte, N.C.-based SPX Corp. announced that it is planning a $70 million expansion to the Waukesha Electric Systems headquarters and manufacturing facility at 400 S. Prairie Ave. in Waukesha.

Waukesha Electric Systems Inc. is a division of SPX’s industrial products and services segment.

The company plans to add 140,000 square feet of space to Waukesha Electric Systems’ 292,000-square-foot plant. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of this year and be completed by the fourth quarter of 2011.

The expansion is expected to eventually create 250 permanent jobs. Waukesha Electric Systems currently has more than 500 employees at the plant at 400 S. Prairie Ave. The expansion will result in 100 new permanent jobs by the fourth quarter of 2011 and the company plans to add an additional 150 permanent jobs “over several years,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Epstein.

Waukesha Electric is receiving numerous government subsidies for the expansion project. Wisconsin will provide $4 million in tax credits to Waukesha Electric for its expansion project. In January, Waukesha Power Systems received $12.45 million in tax credits from the federal government, as part of the economic stimulus package, to expand the Waukesha plant. In addition, the city of Waukesha plans to provide $9 million in tax incremental financing (TIF) for the expansion project. TIF funds are repaid to the government by tax revenue increases in the TIF district.

Waukesha Electric Systems builds power transformers that are used by utilities, independent power producers and independent transmission operators. SPX said the expansion project will extend the company’s ability to manufacture large, high-voltage power transformers.

SPX expects demand for large power transformers to increase because of their ability to transmit power generated at wind farms and solar power generation facilities to distant load centers. In addition, the company says the “high efficiency” of the large power transformers makes them a good option for replacing older, less efficient transformers.

“We are now taking steps to strategically expand Waukesha’s manufacturing capacity and increase its ability to produce large power units for the North American power grid,’ said SPX chairman, president and chief executive officer, Christopher Kearney.

“The expansion of our Waukesha, Wisconsin facility will enable us to offer the broadest array of power transformers of any domestic manufacturer in business today,” said Tom Brockley, president of Waukesha Power Systems.


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