ACCIDENT — Accident-based Phenix Technologies has been sold to ESCO Technologies Inc. of St. Louis.
A global supplier of high-voltage, high-current, high-power test systems and components, Phenix has dealings in 110 countries, with additional facilities in Switzerland and Taiwan. The company has maintained its headquarters in Garrett County for decades.
ESCO manufactures highly-engineered filtration and fluid control products for the aviation, Navy, space and process markets worldwide, as well as composite-based products and solutions for Navy, defense and industrial customers. It also produces RF shielding and electromagnetic compatibility test products; and provides diagnostic instruments, software and services to the energy industry.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“I’m excited to welcome the dedicated employees of Phenix, and I look forward to working with the management team who has worked diligently and successfully over the years to grow this outstanding company into what it is today,” ESCO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vic Richey said in a press release.
“Phenix has developed a strong customer base and operates in a highly defensible market with strong barriers to entry and high switching costs, which was an attractive attribute of this acquisition. They are one of a very few independent players who have a global scale in this market, and their global sales presence creates a substantial opportunity for growth internationally. Adding the proven capabilities of Phenix … to our existing portfolio will expand our global reach and create additional avenues for meaningful growth.”
Phenix will be added to ESCO’s existing Utility Solutions Group, along with another recent acquisition. In late July, ESCO finalized the purchase of I.S.A. Altanova Group in Taino, Italy. Altanova offers diagnostic products, monitoring systems and services for electrical assets related to power generation, transmission and distribution networks, renewable energy and storage, and process industries.
Phenix has annual sales of about $25 million, and Altanova, $30 million. Nearly half of Phenix’s sales are generated outside of the United States.
“This acquisition, coupled with the recent acquisition of Altanova, positions ESCO to accelerate its growth on a global scale as power infrastructure around the world continues to be developed and upgraded,” the company said in a statement.
Bryan Sayler, president of Doble and group executive of the USG segment, said ESCO is continually looking to expand its product offerings.
“Adding Phenix, along with Altanova, certainly satisfies that strategic perspective as both companies are a natural fit for ESCO. As USG grows in size, I’m confident that we will deepen our existing customer relationships across the global utility landscape and create new opportunities to secure recurring revenue and expand our profitability. I look forward to working with our new partners as we continue to create shareholder value for ESCO’s stakeholders,” Sayler said.
In a third-quarter earnings conference call Aug. 9, Richey said the purchase of the two companies will help expand ESCO’s international presence.
“The great thing about particularly Altanova and to a lesser extent, Phenix, those guys as well and both those have really good international content, and so that really is an area, we’ve been working to improve for a number of years,” Richey told analysts.
Phenix in particular will add to ESCO’s product offerings, Richey added.
“The thing they bring is some international content, but really some new products. A lot of — there is are more high-voltage products and more applicable in some cases, commercial and industrial markets versus in addition to the utility markets,” he said of Phenix.
According to the company’s website, it originated in 1975 as American HV Test Systems. In April 1989, American HV Test Systems was purchased privately and became Phenix Technologies.
In January 2005, a new building was completed to double the plant size to 70,000 square feet. The facility included a 70-foot ceiling clearance and multiple overhead cranes with up to 40-ton lifting capability, enabling efficient assembly of even the largest systems. Further recent additions have increased space to a total of 85,000 square feet.
Its testing systems range from handheld devices to custom designs that can accommodate 1 million volts.
Phenix has been a familiar name in the local community, with the company contributing to school training programs, the local student robotics organizations, and 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
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