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Global Acquisitions for ABB, Rockwell

ABB targets the Canadian oil and gas business with its deal, while Rockwell aims to expand its reach and support of process industries in central and western China.

Two major automation suppliers announced plans on Nov. 12 to expand through international acquisitions.

ABB Group (, the Zurich, Switzerland-based power and automation technology company, announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire the business of Ber-Mac Electrical and Instrumentation Ltd., of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in order to expand its presence and capabilities in the oil and gas sector. ABB did not disclose the value of the transaction, which is subject to the customary regulatory approvals.

Ber-Mac specializes in industrial automation, electrical, instrumentation design, process optimization, panel fabrication and field services. It is particularly strong in the oil and gas industry.

Also on Nov. 12, Rockwell Automation Inc., the Milwaukee-based automation supplier, announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets and business of Xi’An Hengsheng Science & Technology Co. Ltd., a privately held engineering firm located in Xi’an, China. The company serves customers in the power, petrochemical, coal mining, chemical and oil markets.

Xi’An Hengsheng Science & Technology conducts much of its business in the fast-growing regions of middle and western China with an installed base of approximately 300 customers, Rockwell said. The acquisition is expected to be completed during the first calendar quarter of 2009, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Rockwell did not disclose terms of the deal.

Oil & gas growth

The ABB acquisition of Ber-Mac will increase ABB’s presence in North America by more than 400 employees, based in several locations, the company said. Ber-Mac is well known and highly respected in the region—a key factor in the decision to acquire the firm, according to ABB.

Established in 1980, Ber-Mac has enjoyed steady growth in recent years and earned revenues of Canadian $100 million in 2007, serving primarily oil and gas customers with power and automation solutions that maximize performance and reduce operating and maintenance costs.

“The acquisition is perfectly aligned with ABB’s growth initiative to enhance its engineering and service capabilities, and will also increase our presence in the large oil and gas industry in North America,” said Veli–Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “At the same time, this business will complement ABB’s offerings, and benefit from the Group’s established network of global resources.”

Complete systems

Rockwell said the Xi'An Hengsheng Science & Technology acquisition is important to its Chinese market initiatives. “This acquisition is a vital step in continuing to provide world-class design and delivery service to our customers throughout China,” said Tom O’Reilly, managing director, Rockwell Automation, Greater China. “It is also another example of how Rockwell Automation is helping China save energy, reduce emissions, protect the environment and achieve a sustainable economy.”

“Xi’An Hengsheng Science & Technology’s process solutions expertise and heavy industry knowledge strengthens Rockwell Automation’s ability to deliver complete systems in one of the fastest growing markets in the world,” said Terry Gebert, vice president and general manager, Rockwell Automation Systems & Solutions business. “Xi’An Hengsheng Science & Technology’s management team and its 85 employees will join our business, bringing a broad range of industrial automation application expertise and deep local market knowledge.”

“This strategic acquisition further strengthens our global project management and engineering solutions delivery capabilities following our other three recent acquisitions of ProsCon and ICS Triplex in Europe, and Caribbean Integration Engineers in Latin America,” Gebert added.

ABB Group

Ber-Mac Electrical and Instrumentation Ltd.

Rockwell Automation Inc.

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