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ITT boosts its motion activities by buying IMC for $395m

05 July, 2007

The US conglomerate ITT has strengthened its activities in the motion market by buying International Motion Control (IMC) for $395m. The IMC business will be integrated into ITT’s Motion and Flow Control group, which chief executive Steve Loranger describes as ITT’s "third leg" - alongside its $4bn defence electronics group, and its $3.3bn fluid technology group (claimed to be the world’s largest supplier of pumps and systems for controlling and transporting water and other fluids).

Privately owned IMC, whose revenues last year totalled around $200m, employs 1,000 people at 11 manufacturing sites - six in the US, three in the Asia-Pacific region, and two in Europe. It focuses on the automation, industrial and aviation control, and energy absorption sectors, with products including AC and DC drives, brushed and brushless servo motors, encoders, actuators, pneumatic cylinders, and CNC controls. Its brands include Burny, Enidine, Compact Automation, Torque Systems and Midland-ACS. Nearly half of IMC’s income is derived outside the US.

IMC revenue 2006

Energy absorption - principally shock and vibration damping, and noise abatement systems - accounts for almost half of IMC’s revenues (as shown in the top graph above).

IMC has been expanding by more than 15% a year for the past three years and, according to Nick Hill, president of ITT’s Motion and Flow Control group, this growth is set to continue.

The Motion group has been achieving a return-on-investment of above 20% in recent years and has the highest operating margins in ITT, according to Hill. He adds that the group has been looking to expand into adjacent markets and identified IMC as a potential acquisition. The deal followed six months of negotiations between the two parties.

"The IMC acquisition aligns exceedingly well with our strategy to grow the ITT Motion and Flow Control business globally," says CEO Steve Loranger. "IMC adds a complementary mix of highly engineered, mission-critical products to expand our core capabilities in speciality energy absorption and motion control applications."

IMC’s UK operations include Gateshead-based Cleveland Motion Controls, incorporating the multi-axis numerical controls specialist NEE Controls (formerly known as North East Electronics), which IMC acquired in 2005. IMC also owns the valve and actuator specialist Midland-ACS and Alcon Solenoid Valves, both located in Wolverhampton.

Loranger says that the IMC deal – which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year - does not preclude further acquisitions in other segments.

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