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IMI buys Bahr to add electric linear systems to its pneumatic axes

31 May, 2022

The British engineering group IMI is buying the German electric linear motion specialist Bahr Modultechnik Holding for €98m (£83m). Bahr will become part of the IMI Precision Engineering’s industrial automation business.

IMI says the proposed acquisition is in line with its strategy and will allow IMI Precision to offer both pneumatic and electric linear motion systems. It adds that introducing Bahr systems to IMI’s global industrial customer base “will provide significant growth synergies”.

Bahr was founded in 1990 by brothers Frank and Dirk Bahr. Based in Luhden, Germany, the company supplies configured modular electric linear motion systems, based on a broad portfolio of technologies including belt, spindle, rack-and-pinion and linear motor drives. It has a diverse customer base in automation-driven markets such as pharmacy and warehouse automation, and robotics.

Bahr has around 80 employees and its linear positioning systems are sold in more than 24 countries. Its revenues grew at a CAGR of 12% from 2019 to 2021 during the Covid pandemic, and it has recorded a 27% growth in the first four months of 2022.

In 2018, the private equity group IK Partners invested in Bahr and is currently its majority owner. Since the investment, the company has focused on organic top-line growth, and strengthening its team.

Following the IMI acquisition, co-founder and co-CEO Dirk Bahr and co-CEO Cihan Halavurt will stay with the business.

IMI CEO Roy Twite says that Bahr’s “unique” modular system, coupled with its customer-centric approach and ability to engineer application-specific solutions, “aligns nicely with our own business model”.

Beth Ferreira, managing director of IMI Precision Engineering, adds that Bahr has “a fantastic product portfolio that is highly scalable in attractive growth markets”.

Bahr has a broad portfolio of electric linear motion technologies

“In IMI, we have found a partner who appreciates the value of our brand and capabilities and will support the company in its long-term global growth trajectory,” says Dirk Bahr.

The acquisition is expected to close by mid-June 2022. IMI predicts that Bahr will be both margin and growth accretive to IMI Precision and will deliver a financial return above IMI’s cost of capital by the end of year three.

IMI designs, manufactures and services highly engineered products that control the precise movement of fluids. The group employs around 10,000 people, has manufacturing facilities in 19 countries and operates a global service network. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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