In a move exemplifying the trend toward bringing material handling equipment and systems integration under a single provider's umbrella, KION Group said today it has agreed to acquire Retrotech, a U.S. systems integrator owned by France's Savoye S.A.
Rochester, N.Y.-based Retrotech focuses on engineering, project management, and installation of order-fulfillment and storage systems and associated software and has customers in the food, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, and automotive industries as well as in e-commerce and retail. It is best known for warehouse retrofits and modernizing existing automated material handling systems. KION Group said it will retain the Retrotech name.
German multinational KION Group, which says it is the world's second-largest supplier of forklifts, warehouse technology, and associated services, will use the acquisition to strengthen its position in automated warehouse systems in North America. The deal, valued at around $40 million, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016, the companies said in a statement. Retrotech will be held by and will become an operating unit of Egemin Group Inc., based in Holland, Mich., and its Egemin Automation brand. Egemin Automation designs and manufactures automatic guided vehicles and autonomous forklifts.
Retrotech has around 140 employees, with revenue of about $70 million in 2015. In addition to Egemin, KION Group has six other brands, including Linde, STILL, Fenwick, OM STILL, Baoli, and Voltas.
European suppliers of material handling equipment and automated systems have long focused on "intralogistics"—the integrated processes and flow of materials within warehouses and distribution centers. As demand for automated material handling and order-fulfillment systems grows, equipment providers increasingly are moving beyond their original business models and are getting involved in the integration of these complex systems and associated software. That was a motivating factor behind the acquisition.
"Retrotech, with its excellent reputation and industry-leading expertise in the integration of intralogistics systems, is the perfect complement to strengthen the automation solutions currently being supplied by our brand company Egemin Automation in the U.S.A.," said Gordon Riske, KION Group's chief executive officer, in a statement. "This deal is an important step on our journey to becoming a leading player in the fast-growing market for automated logistics and material-flow systems. Automated intralogistics will play a crucial role in 'Industry 4.0,' the digital transformation of manufacturing."
Editor's note: This article was updated on April 26, 2016, to indicate that Retrotech is held by Egemin Group and is not a separate KION Group brand.