Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Airgas board rejects Air Products offer

Board pegs the value of Airgas at a price of at least $78 per share

The Board of Directors of Airgas said today it has unanimously rejected the revised unsolicited tender offer from Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. to acquire all outstanding common shares of Airgas at a price of $70.00 per share in cash. The Board unanimously recommends that Airgas stockholders to not tender their shares into Air Products' revised offer.

The board said that the $70 per share offer is "clearly inadequate" and that the value of Airgas is at least $78.00 per share.

Grainger sells Highsmith brand

Broad-line distributor is also considering the sale of four other units under its Specialty Brands division

W.W. Grainger announced the sale of one of its specialty brands earlier this week. The broad-line distributor sold Highsmith, which provides products and solutions to libraries and schools, to DEMCO, Inc., a leading provider of supplies, equipment, furniture and technology for libraries and schools nationwide. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Grainger's Specialty Brands serve targeted customer segments with products and services specific to their industries.

The distributor also said it is considering the sale of four other specialty brands:
  • Professional Equipment (serving inspection and construction-related trade professionals)

  • Construction Book Express (serving general contractors, electricians, HVAC professionals, engineers and architects)

  • McFeely's (serving professional woodworkers)

  • Rand (serving material handling needs)

These four brands represent roughly 1% of Grainger's revenue.

Grainger said it will continue to invest in its remaining specialty brands, including Lab Safety Supply, Imperial, Gempler's, Ben Meadows and AW Direct.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ProBuild to close 20 facilities

The construction supply company currently has 470 locations nationwide

ProBuild, one of America's biggest pro-oriented construction supply companies, announced today it is closing 20 of its roughly 470 locations nationwide "in an effort to align our business with current market needs," according to ProBuild reported sales of $3.2 billion in sales last year, down 27% from 2008.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Arnott selected new PTDA executive vice president

Arnott will succeed longtime executive Mary Sue Lyon

The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) Board of Directors unanimously selected Ann Arnott, currently PTDA’s vice president of programs and services, to succeed Mary Sue Lyon as the next executive vice president of PTDA, effective January 1, 2011.

The selection of Arnott is a result of asearch which began in March 2009, after the Board of Directors received notification of Lyon’s intent to retire at the end of 2010.

After concluding the search process, PTDA’s leadership affirmed their support of Arnott. Keith Nowak, president of the PTDA Board of Directors in 2010 and president of MPT Drives, Inc. shared the following sentiment. “Even though Ann was a qualified candidate, the Board elected to do a full-blown executive search. We wanted to be sure to get the best possible person to lead PTDA going forward. We are now more confident than ever that we have the right person for the job. Ann’s background in finance and experience as well as knowledge of PTDA and its members helped her to excel above the other candidates.”

John Masek, vice president of Bearing Service Inc., chaired the executive search committee. According to Masek, “Ann handled her position as an internal candidate with grace, strength and a positive demeanor at all times. At the end of the process, she clearly was affirmed as the best individual to lead our association forward into the next decade. Her poise, enthusiasm, creativity and leadership qualities stood out and will serve her well as she expands her service to the membership of PTDA.”

Arnott joined PTDA in 2006 as director of programs and services and was promoted to her current role in 2008. Arnott is integral in managing the development and execution of PTDA’s strategic plan through the association’s volunteer committees, task forces and work groups. Additionally, she provides oversight for the association’s events, including the Industry Summit, Canadian Conference and Leadership Development Conference. Arnott also oversees the association’s marketing plan.

Prior to working with the association, Arnott spent 16 years with the Institute of Real Estate Management, where she developed a broad-based background in association management. Serving as financial editor, chapter relations manager, member and chapter services manager and finance manager, Arnott rose to the position of director of marketing and sales, where she crafted and implemented a long-term strategic marketing plan.

PTDA also benefits from Arnott’s financial background. Before beginning her career in association management, Arnott completed her MBA in Finance and worked at the investment counseling firm Scudder, Stevens and Clark.

Mary Sue Lyon has also reached an agreement with PTDA to remain as a consultant to the association for the first quarter of 2011. Lyon and Arnott have already initiated the transition of EVP responsibilities to ensure continuity and an orderly transition.

Actuant buys Mastervolt for $150 million

Mastervolt is a designer, developer nd supplier of power electronics

Actuant Corporation has agreed to purchase Mastervolt, a Netherlands, Amsterdam- based designer, developer and global supplier of innovative, branded power electronics. The purchase is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, and is expected to close within 30 days. Total consideration for the transaction is approximately €115 million ($150 million) which will be funded from the company’s cash and revolving credit facility. Mastervolt generated approximately €85 million ($110 million) in revenue in the past 12 months.

Mastervolt’s products provide the technology associated with the efficient conversion, control, storage and conditioning of power and are utilized in various end markets including solar photovoltaic (PV), marine and specialty vehicles.
In the solar market, Mastervolt is focused primarily on high-quality and high-yield inverters for sub-segments of the on-grid market in Europe. Inverters serve as the critical link in a solar PV system, connecting the solar panels to the electric grid, efficiently converting direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). In the marine and specialty vehicle markets, Mastervolt provides integrated power systems which include battery chargers, inverters, generator sets, batteries, switchboards and electrical propulsion. Mastervolt provides “green” solutions to the marine market with its hybrid and electric propulsion, lithium-ion batteries and digital switching technologies.

Actuant Corporation is a diversified industrial company with operations in more than 30 countries. The Actuant businesses sell products in a broad array of niche markets including branded hydraulic and electrical tools and supplies; specialized products and services for energy markets and highly engineered position and motion control systems. The company was founded in 1910 and is headquartered in Butler, Wis.