German company buys J. Houle & Fils Inc.
March 13, 2008 by Manure Manager
GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft, a
German-based international technology group focused on specialty
mechanical engineering, announced in April it had purchased Jérôme
Houle & Fils Inc., a manure-handling equipment 0manufacturer
located in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada.
GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft, a German-based international technology group focused on specialty mechanical engineering, announced in April it had purchased Jérôme Houle & Fils Inc., a manure-handling equipment 0manufacturer located in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada.
“The acquisition of Houle will further improve the competitive position of our dairy farm business,” says Peter Schenk, a member of GEA Groups’ executive board. “It is an important strategic acquisition that significantly extends the Dairy Farm Division’s scope of products and services with professional manure handling equipment.”
Under the agreement, Houle will operate independently as a sister company to WestfaliaSurge, Inc. (USA), which, in combination with WestfaliaSurge Canada Co., is a division of WestfaliaSurge GmbH, a member of the GEA-Group and a worldwide leader in milking equipment technology.
“Due to the quality of the buyers, we have decided to proceed with the
sale even though Houle has been family-owned since 1957,” said Michel Houle, president of Jérôme Houle & Fils Inc. “Getting to know the culture of WestfaliaSurge and understanding their commitment to keep our people and our business intact, while expanding markets for our products, has made the process smooth and the decision much easier.”
WestfaliaSurge plans to grow the equipment product line globally out of the Houle headquarters and manufacturing facility. Manure-handling products will continue to be marketed under the Houle brand in countries where Houle already has a good market penetration. In countries where Houle has less presence, WestfaliaSurge will proactively seek growth opportunities and will thus be able to supply a complete range of manure-handling equipment to dairy and swine farms of all sizes.
With the acquisition, WestfaliaSurge has expanded its position as a leading global agriculture equipment manufacturer and enhances the company’s ability to provide milk producers with fully integrated service. This includes offering a unique, integrated portfolio of dairy and manure-handling equipment, hygiene products, dealer service and technical support that enables dairy producers to remain competitive and profitable. The company also looks forward to expanding this commitment to advanced technology and service to the swine market. The actual management of Houle has agreed to stay in place for the time necessary to permit a good transition.
Nearly 90 percent of Houle equipment is sold in North America to dairy and swine producers. The company is considered a leading North American company in the engineering, manufacturing and distribution of manure handling equipment and systems, barn cleaners, cow stalls and related equipment and services. The company employs about 300 employees and generated sales of approximately $50.8 million (US) in 2006.
The GEA Group focuses on engineering, specifically customized systems, process equipment and process engineering. It is considered one of the world’s market and technology leaders, employing around 17,500 people and generating sales of more than $5.7 billion in 2006.