MARIETTA, Ga.—Belt Power L.L.C. continues to make waves in the merger and acquisition space, adding Engineered Components Inc. to its portfolio July 16, just seven months after purchasing Denver-based Rubber Service Corp.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Shorehill Capital L.L.C., a private equity firm based in Chicago, owns Belt Power.
"Shorehill is thrilled to incorporate ECI's material handling expertise into the Belt Power platform, and we consider this combination to be a critical addition to Belt Power's expanding array of specialty products and services," said Rob Hogan, managing director at Shorehill.
ECI, a 19-year-old distributor of material handling parts and solutions, is based in Ormond Beach, Fla., and has four employees, all of whom will be retained with Belt Power, according to Craig Lemonds, director of marketing for Belt Power. The addition brings Belt Power's work force to about 150 employees.
ECI's Northeast Florida facility, however, will close with the acquisition, and its products will be distributed through other Belt Power locations.
"UPS, FedEx, Amazon, WalMart—the material handling segment is an exploding market and something we were weak in," Lemonds said. "ECI made sense for us right now primarily because of the particular industry verticals that it serves.
"We could not have grabbed someone better at this point."
The ECI acquisition brings Belt Power's total U.S. locations to 10, which includes a fabrication operation in Cincinnati that opened July 1.
"With our new location we will be able to better service the needs of our customers in the region," the company said in announcing the Southwest Ohio fabrication facility.
ECI essentially is a nationwide rather than regional acquisition, however, as the company distributes its postal and airport material handling components and systems across the country.
Belt Power will leverage ECI's technical expertise in this industry, and in turn ECI will have access to Shorehill's capital to increase its footprint.
"This is a nationwide drive, and (ECI owner) George Supino is amazing," Lemonds said. "ECI has that expertise. It is a challenge to be able to service customers nationwide, both the USPS and the independent material handling companies. And we can provide that nationwide service."
Lemonds noted that there will be "very few redundancies" between Belt Power and ECI, as the customer bases are so different. Branding will remain status quo, at least for the immediate future, as ECI retains its name recognition.
Eventually, the ECI brand "will be blended into" Belt Power, Lemonds said.
"ECI has been blessed with having the most prominent supplier relationships and the greatest customer support through the years," ECI's Supino said. "This past year, we realized we needed to make a sizable investment to better support our existing and expanding customer base. The opportunity to join forces with Belt Power immediately provides us with the expanded resources, capabilities and operational support to drive value for our customers and our employees."
Just as investors are taking an aggressive interest on the supplier side, the Belt Power/ECI acquisition and the recent purchase of Universal Belting Resource L.L.C. by Beltservice Corp. are evidence of aggressive investor interest on the distributor side as well, Lemonds said.
Business has been returning strong for Belt Power following the first round of COVID-19, and the distributor and lightweight belting fabricator continues to maintain aggressive revenue and acquisition targets.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to expand our national expertise in the material handling vertical and accelerate our organic growth strategy in a very dynamic industry," said Belt Power CEO Don Heitmeier. "George and the ECI team have consistently delivered both a strong customer-centric approach with an industry leading technical solution capability."
ECI services an array of material handling customers—from baggage handling system solutions at airports nationwide, to postal and mail handling systems, to large-scale package handling centers.
Belt Power serves the conveyor maintenance, replacement and overhaul needs of more than 3,000 customers, with a focus on food processing, packaging, material handling and light industrial markets.