Wisconsin Manufacturing News

With news from Modine Manufacturing, Regal Beloit, Actuant and Dillman Equipment

Modine to cut managerial staff at Racine headquarters
Modine Manufacturing Co. announced last week that it will eliminate 15 percent of its managerial workforce at its Racine headquarters. The struggling said the elimination of 20 full-time positions and reduction of post-retirement benefits will save approximately $3.3 million.

Bradley Richardson, executive vice president and corporate strategy and chief financial officer, said, "As we look to the future, Modine has established performance targets including selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) at 11.5 percent of total sales, which is part of our overall framework to achieve an 11 to 12 percent return on capital employed. In order to achieve these objectives and provide Modine the financial strength and cash flow to support our current growth strategy, we continue to take difficult, but necessary, actions, such as those being announced today. As we do so, we remain focused on our core thermal management expertise and the delivery of value to our customers and shareholders."

The workforce reduction, combined with recent executive retirements, will result in an estimated $2.5 million charge for severance and retirement benefits in the company’s second fiscal quarter ending Sept. 30.

"We continue to execute our four-point plan, which includes manufacturing realignment, portfolio rationalization, SG&A reduction and increased capital allocation discipline," said Thomas Burke, president and chief executive officer of Modine. "As we drive continuous improvement in our bottom line performance, we continue to invest in technological differentiation and the development of advantaged product and market positions which capitalize on global demand for emissions reduction, fuel economy, high efficiency performance and clean sources of alternative energy. We are confident we are on the right course to build a stronger, more competitive company that can better serve our customers, employees and shareholders in the years to come."

Modine specializes in thermal management systems and components, bringing highly engineered heating and cooling technology and solutions to diversified global markets.

Regal Beloit acquires Dutch distributor
Regal Beloit Corp. recently acquired Dutchi Motors B.V. in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Dutchi is a distributor of industrial motors in Western and Eastern Europe, South Africa, Russia and the Middle East. Dutchi is one of the largest distributors of the Regal Beloit’s Hwada motor products, which was purchased by the company in April 2008. The Dutchi business will be reported as part of Regal Beloit’s Electrical Segment.

The business is expected to add approximately $11 million to $13 million in annual sales.
The purchase price was approximately $34.0 million in cash and the assumption of approximately $3.2 million in net liabilities.

Henry Knueppel, chairman and chief executive officer of Regal Beloit, said, "We are very excited to announce the acquisition of Dutchi. The Dutchi business is a strong and growing business across Eastern and Western Europe, South Africa, Russia and the Middle East. With Dutchi joining our expanding family, we will now have in place the infrastructure necessary to significantly expand our commercial efforts in these critical regions. The company has an outstanding management team that has continuously grown the business at a multiple of market growth rates. Given this track record and the opportunities that RBC can bring to Dutchi, we are very confident that we will see accelerated growth across these regions even in light of the short-term prospects for Western Europe. We have for some time searched for a commercial infrastructure in these important geographical regions that would allow us to leverage our global manufacturing platform. Dutchi is a perfect fit to complete this portion of our globalization strategy."

Actuant concludes record fiscal year
Favorable currency exchange rates and acquisitions helped Butler-based Actuant Corp. to post record sales and earnings for its fiscal year, ended Aug. 31. The company reported 2008 revenues of $1.66 billion, up 14 percent over the prior year. The firm also reported record full-year diluted earnings per share of $2.05, excluding special items, an increase of 18 percent over the comparable 2007 figure.

Actuant deployed approximately $110 million in two "tuck-in" acquisitions during fiscal 2008. The company reported fourth quarter fiscal net earnings $34.2 million, or 54 cents per share, up from $31.4 million, or 51 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The company’s fourth quarter sales increased 4 percent to $405 million from $390 million in the prior year. The increase was attributable to the impact of foreign currency rate changes (5 percent) and acquisitions (3 percent), even though core sales declined 4 percent. The currency rate reflected the weak dollar, which enabled greater revenues with foreign sales.

Robert Arzbaecher, president and chief executive officer of Actuant, said, "Fiscal 2008 marked the seventh consecutive year of EPS growth, excluding special items. We once again were able to convert those strong earnings into cash, generating another year of free cash flow in excess of net income. These improved results are even more gratifying given they were accomplished in the face of strong headwinds from our consumer-oriented markets, including recreational vehicle, marine and DIY electrical. Actuant’s extensive diversification rewarded shareholders again in 2008, with robust demand and profit generation from our Industrial and Engineered Products segments which more than offset the impact of weak consumer markets."

Tennessee company acquires Dillman Equipment
Dillman Equipment Inc., a Prairie du Chien-based manufacturer of asphalt plant equipment, was acquired last week by Astec Industries Inc., a Chattanooga, Tenn., infrastructure equipment manufacturer. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Dillman’s operations in Prairie du Chien will now operate as a division of Astec, the company said. Astec has operations in aggregate processing and mining, asphalt production, mobile asphalt paving, and underground boring, directional drilling and trenching equipment.

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