Global Fastener News

2003 FIN – Anixter Acquires UK Fastener Distributor Walters Hexagon

September 11
00:00 2013

Anixter International Inc. acquired British fastener distributor Walters Hexagon Group for $41.6 million in cash. Worcester, England-based Walters Hexagon had sales of $60 million last year. Anixter said the deal would add two to three percent to its annual sales and add to earnings immediately.

“The acquisition of Walters Hexagon is another important strategic step in building our global capabilities to supply fasteners, wire and cable and other small components to Original Equipment Manufacturers,” stated Anixter CEO Robert Grubbs. “With many of the key integration steps associated with our September 2002 acquisition of Pentacon, Inc. successfully completed, the timing was appropriate to take this next step. Walters Hexagon and our existing Anixter Pentacon OEM supply business combine to give us an annual sales run rate in this marketplace of over $350 million per year.”
Walters Hexagon was formed in 1990 through the merger of C. Walters & Sons (established in 1952) and Hexagon Fasteners. For the past five years the company has been owned by Bridgepoint Capital Ltd. and management. Walters Hexagon employs about 270 people and operates nine distribution and sales facilities in Britain and France. A new one is expected to open soon in Italy.
Under the deal Glenview, IL-based Anixter could pay an additional $5.8 million based on Walters Hexagon’s future performance.
Grubbs called fastener distribution an “increasingly important portion of our business,” and said the acquisition would expand Anixter’s global presence. Grubbs said the deal helps Anixter address a growing trend by OEMs to outsource the procurement, inventory management and logistics of insuring just-in-time delivery of large numbers of low value components to the production line. “We believe this trend presents significant growth opportunities,” he noted.
Anixter CFO Dennis Letham told FIN that Walters Hexagon will not be incorporated into Anixter Pentacon operations but will serve as its European equivalent. Anixter Pentacon and Walter Hexagon may coordinate sales efforts to multinational customers, Letham explained, but that would be the extent of their partnership.
Letham noted that the acquisition gives Anixter “critical mass in Europe.”
Letham indicated it was a sign of Anixter Pentacon’s success that the parent company was looking to make new acquisitions.
“We’re comfortable with the success we’ve had in the first year with Pentacon,” Letham told FIN.
He cautioned against reading too much into the fact that Anixter’s last two acquisitions were fastener distributors. “We do not see ourselves as being a fastener industry roll-up.”
Anixter’s strategy is to become a global distributor of “high-dollar, low-volume” products, such as wire, cable and fasteners, through organic growth and strategic acquisitions.
Ruck Leaves Pentacon
In other Anixter news, Letham said Rob Ruck has left his position as CEO of Anixter Pentacon. Ruck has reportedly joined a venture capital firm.
Letham said Anixter won’t replace Ruck.
Anixter Pentacon operations are concentrated into two groups: industrial products, led by Joe Homa; and aerospace, led by Gary Conrad. ©2003/2013 Fastener Industry News.
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