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Crane Buys Assets Of Automatic Products

Posted On: 6/7/2006

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ST. LOUIS, MO -- Crane Co. has entered into an agreement to purchase certain assets of Automatic Products international, ltd. (St. Paul, MN) for about $31 million in cash. The acquisition includes APi's extensive distribution network, product line and parts business. It does not include APi's manufacturing facility in St. Paul.

Crane initially will purchase 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.