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Good fit is important to Megadyne acquisitions

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Megadyne group NIBA
Photo by RPN photo by Mike McNulty Bill Levensalor of Belt Corporation of America (left), Rultrans Transmisyon A.S.' Frank Fullerton along with Tom Tesoro, Philip Cohenca and Roy Pyle of Jason Industrial gather at Jason's booth during the recent NIBA convention in Seattle. Cohenca and Tesoro discussed Megadyne's and Jason's latest purchases, including Belt Corporation, aimed at extending the reach of the two companies.

SEATTLE—Megadyne S.p.A. isn't growing through acquisitions for the sake of getting bigger.

It only purchases companies that are a good fit, according to Philip Cohenca, president and CEO of the company's North and South American operations, including its U.S. manufacturing, sales and distribution arm, subsidiary Jason Industrial Inc. in Fairfield, N.J.

Both Megadyne, based in Mathi, Italy, and Jason have had success in the last few years finding companies that match up well with the two belt makers and bringing them into the group's fold.

Megadyne's latest purchase, completed in mid-September, was Sampla Belting South Africa Ltd.

It bought the assets of the distributor and fabricator from belt producer Sampla Belting S.r.L. in a move aimed at building its commercial network in Africa.

Under a distribution agreement with Sampla, Megadyne will continue to service the company's existing customers in southern Africa.

Aiming for the top

“Our global strategy is to have Megadyne become and be recognized as the world's premier industrial power transmission belt company,” Megadyne CEO Giorgio Tadolini said when the purchase was made.

He said the company is committed “to establishing world class manufacturing, distribution and fabricating capabilities in each of our major markets: America, Asia, Europe and now Africa.” The acquisition is a key part of that initiative for the region, he said.

Sampla Belting South Africa's work force of 14 will be retained and continue to operate under the direction of Megadyne.

Financial details of the purchase were not released.

It was the second acquisition in two months by Megadyne and Jason and the third in a little more than a year.

Cohenca and other Megadyne and Jason officials discussed the acquisitions at the NIBA—the Belting Association convention, held in Seattle Sept. 24-27.

In August, Jason finalized a deal to buy Belt Corporation of America from industry veteran Bill Levensalor and his wife, Maureen.

Levensalor will remain with the business, and the company's work force of 60 will be retained. They will continue to operate out of Belt Corporation's 40,000-sq.-ft. plant in Cumming, Ga., Cohenca said.

In June 2013, Megadyne bought Rultrans Transmisyon A.S., a producer of a wide range of polyurethane and PVC conveyor belts. Rultrans' work force of 120 remains intact and continues to operate from its factory in Izmir, Turkey. Its management team also remained with the company.

All the acquisitions significantly expanded Megadyne's and Jason's reach.

Solid operations

While Megadyne intends to continue to grow organically, which it does regularly, it is not finished with its search for additional acquisitions that tie in well with the company's plan to become the top global company in its field, said Thomas Tesoro, vice president of sales and marketing for Jason.

Megadyne and Jason are very selective about the firms they purchase. The company doesn't buy businesses, dump managers and work forces, and consolidate everything under one roof.

It acquires operations that not only tie in with Megadyne's overall growth plan, but also generally have strong management teams and experienced personnel, Cohenca said.

“We want to become the global leader in lightweight and power transmission conveyor belting,” he said. “We're a service-oriented, technologically advanced belt manufacturer and distributor. We're strategically located in North America, South America, Asia and Europe.”

In addition to Jason, Megadyne's North American group includes Megadyne America, which makes open ended and endless polyurethane synchronous belting and is based in Charlotte, N.C., and Timing Belt Manufacturing Co., a producer of industrial rubber synchronous power transmission belts, located in Greenville, S.C.

Astorg Partners purchased a majority stake in Megadyne earlier this year. Management of Megadyne and Jason, along with other current shareholders of the firm, reinvested into the business and retained 25 percent ownership of the company.

The involvement of Astorg gives the company deeper pockets and an opportunity to branch out further into new markets in its search for solid acquisitions.

Giorgio and Marco Tadolini continue to lead the belt manufacturer as executive chairman and managing director. The remaining managers and the company's work force also are unchanged.

At the time of the acquisition, Cohenca said Megadyne actively pursued the acquisition because “we want to triple our size, and we needed access to funding and expertise for future acquisitions.”