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Crane Co.'s CashCode Acquisition Aids Push To Offer Single Solution

Posted On: 2/24/2006

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STAMFORD, CT -- Crane Co. has announced the acquisition of the assets of CashCode Co. Inc. (Concord, ON, Canada) for $86 million in cash.

Crane Co. is the parent of National Vendors and GPL (both in St. Louis, MO), and of National Rejectors Inc. GmbH (Buxtehude, Germany) through its Crane Merchandising Systems business unit. CashCode is a privately held company that produces banknote validation, storage and "recycling" equipment for vending, amusements and music, and related markets around the world.

CashCode will be working closely with NRI to jointly offer an enhanced range of innovative, reliable currency systems. According to Brad Ellis, president of Crane Merchandising Systems, the acquisition will enable Crane to "engineer the future of currency validation worldwide."

The company plans initially to concentrate on integrating CashCode's technology with its NRI  business in the European market, Ellis explained, adding that the payment systems will continue to operate independently of the vending machine manufacturing business, as NRI has done for the last half-century. However, all the Merchandising Systems units will communicate and cooperate to provide modular, integrated systems to vending operators and other end-users.

CMS will continue to sell and support Optipay, the first bill-in/bill-out currency recycling system, which resulted from CMS's partnership with JCM America. "We are proud of the partnership and the innovative products that JCM and NRI developed together," said Ellis. "These advances have helped our customers increase their profitability and enhance end-user satisfaction."

Crane recognized CashCode as an ideal partner with a 15-year track record of stability, profitability and strong growth, the CMS president explained. "CashCode fills out our portfolio of products to cover all facets of vending," he said. "CMS products enable operators to manage their locations as though each were a retail store."

The vending industry has wanted to do this for 40 years, Ellis observed, but it is difficult to integrate management information, payment systems and vending technology when the components of each come from different sources. "Integrating solutions from multiple sources can be a huge drain on an operator's time and productivity, particularly if there is product incompatibility," he emphasized. "It's much easier to deal with a single organization. That's why CMS is focused on creating unique integrated solutions that truly benefit the vending operator."

With this in mind, the company has undertaken a long-term campaign to assemble all the pieces. In March 2000, Crane acquired Streamware Corp. (Norwood, MA), a leading provider of business management software and market analysis tools for the vending and foodservice industry. Late last year, Crane purchased the software business of inOne Technology (Hunt Valley, MD).

"With the acquisition of inOne Technology's software, CMS has augmented its Streamware product to increase our market penetration," Ellis said, adding that the company's challenge at present is mobilizing the resources needed to install customers.

"We want our customers focused on the 'front end' of the business, which is growth through marketing, products and product placement, pricing, and the needs of their clientele," the CMS president told VT. "Retail businesses primarily focus on more effectively merchandising product, and that's the model vending should aspire to."

Regarding the CashCode acquisition, Ellis added: "Coming just one month after the acquisition of inOne's software operation, the CashCode acquisition confirms that we are investing for the benefit of our customers' success and profitability."

Founded in 1992, CashCode employs some 350 people worldwide. Its 2005 sales were approximately $48 million, and 75% of this sales volume was achieved in nations other than the U.S.

Crane has a long history of strategic acquisition and development in the vending industry. In October 1999, the company acquired Stentorfield Ltd., (Chippenham, England). Stentorfield is a premier designer and manufacturer of hot and cold beverage vending machines, serving the UK and European market with a broad line of full size and tabletop products. That acquisition has provided the means for National Vendors to satisfy the growing UK and European demand for a broader "one-stop" product offering, consisting of Stentorfield drink machines and National Vendors snack and food venders.

In March, 1997, the company acquired Polyvend Inc. (Conway, AR), a manufacturer of snack and food vending machines. Together with another historically important manufacturer, Lektro-Vend Corp. (Aurora, IL) and Crane's own "Glasco" brand, these formed the GPL unit within CMS.

Crane Co. acquired UniDynamics and all of its subsidiaries in 1985. UniDynamics had been UMC Industries, and earlier, Universal Match Corp.