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CMS Broadens Retail Footprint With Telequip Acquisition, Deepens Vending Market Presence Through APi Purchase

Posted On: 8/2/2006

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-- Crane Merchandising Systems has announced the acquisition of Telequip Corp. (Salem, NH), a market leader in embedded and free-standing coin dispensing technology. The cost was approximately $45 million.

The move came hard on the heels of CMS's purchase of certain assets of Automatic Products international, ltd. (St. Paul, MN), including APi's product line, parts business and extensive distribution network. According to published reports, the transaction was worth about $31 million.

The Telequip acquisition will assist CMS in expanding its vending industry leadership into the retail sector, according to company president Brad Ellis. "We anticipate significant growth opportunities in retail with the addition of Telequip," Ellis said. "There is a lot of synergy between our vending expertise and the self-checkout and self-service kiosk opportunities in supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers."

He added that Telequip's coin dispensing technology aligns with CMS's other technology-led companies, CashCode (bill validation) and NRI (coin validation). "With three complementary products and services, Crane Merchandising Systems is the only company that can offer retail self-checkout customers a fully integrated solution," Ellis stated.

The move into a broader retail automation field continues CMS's growth by selective acquisition. In the last decade, the company has formed its GPL business unit by purchasing Polyvend (Conway, AR) and Lektro-Vend (Aurora, IL), and strengthened its international presence by acquiring Stentorfield (Chippenham, Wiltshire, England). With the goal of providing completely integrated solutions including both hardware and software, CMS acquired Streamware (Norwood, MA) and the management software business of inOne Technology (Hunt Valley, MD), which included the former EMS Solutions and Navigator.

Crane initially will purchase APi's distribution assets, and will acquire manufacturing assets after a transition period of several months. This period will facilitate the move of APi manufacturing to the Crane Merchandising Systems plant here. During the transition period, APi will manufacture products exclusively for Crane.

"With a combined tenure of 137 years, APi and CMS have impressive records of success that have earned each company esteem and recognition for being the best providers in the global vending industry," said CMS president Brad Ellis. "This strategic union creates an organization that will be more efficient than the sum of its parts.

"We envision strong value coming from APi's talent and engineering skills, combined with their knowledge of the distributor organization and their approach to a different customer base," Ellis added. "The acquisition will make CMS an even more efficient full-line vending manufacturer in an increasingly competitive North American market."

Ellis reported that plans call for keeping separate front-end organizations. APi's sales, service and engineering personnel will join CMS immediately, and the APi organization will be maintained separately in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

"Our goal is to provide APi distributors and their customer base with the very best levels of product quality, service and support," he emphasized.

The acquisition is expected to create a number of benefits. The dual distribution strategy -- separate but complementary direct and indirect distribution organizations -- will enable stronger penetration of market channels, market segments and geographic areas. Customers can anticipate better value through a wider choice of products and sources of service and supply. The pact ensures the long-term value of the installed APi equipment base, and enhances the future value of the operator's business.

"CMS has been preparing for accelerated business growth since 2001, with the implementation of the acclaimed Crane Co. Operational Excellence program," Ellis pointed out. "In spite of depressed industry volumes, Crane has aggressively invested in its facilities manufacturing equipment and its people to position the business for growth opportunities."

With nearly 500,000 sq.ft. of space, the company is able to accommodate substantial volume, the CMS president observed. "Our focus on quality, delivery, cost, safety and growth will remain uncompromised," he concluded.