WILLISTON, SC — Crane Co. has announced the purchase of all the capital stock of Dixie-Narco Inc. for $46 million in cash. Dixie-Narco had been a subsidiary of Whirlpool Corp. since Whirlpool acquired its former parent, Maytag Corp., last year.
A world-class producer of packaged cold beverage machines, Dixie-Narco is the fifth business acquisition made by Crane in the past year for its Merchandising Systems division. It joins Automatic Products, CashCode, EMS and Telequip in the fast-growing division.
Crane Merchandising Systems president Brad Ellis said, “Dixie-Narco is a prestige brand, has great people, and is a leader in innovation, quality and product support. Similarities with Crane Merchandising Systems make Dixie-Narco a complementary fit with our business. The acquisition expands our vending capabilities from our snack, food and coffee focus and reinforces our position as an industry leader.”
Ellis added that Dixie-Narco will be maintained as a separate organization, with its production operations remaining in Williston, SC. “Dixie-Narco is currently operating at a loss, and significant changes to its current business practices will be required to return it to profitability,” Ellis explained. “While these changes will take a number of months to implement, we are confident about the longer-term attractiveness of this acquisition.”
Dixie-Narco was formed when the old Victor Products company, a pioneer in refrigerated vending machine design, sold its packaged cold drink vender business to Dixie Foundry in 1957. A year later, Dixie Foundry acquired appliance manufacturer Magic Chef and combined all its businesses under that name. The Narco Sales Group had helped Victor Products sell its equipment, and the new organization bought Narco in 1967. In 1986, Maytag Corp. acquired Magic Chef and all its companies, including Dixie-Narco.
In 1997, Dixie-Narco purchased the assets of ECC Corp.’s vending machine manufacturing operation, which had developed a novel glassfront drink vender for Snapple Beverage. The acquisition made Dixie-Narco a pioneer in the development of high-selectivity, high-visibility cold drink vending solutions.