EnerSys CEO Talks About His Company

Sep. 1.06 | About: EnerSys (ENS)

Excerpt from The Wall Street Transcript's August 7 interview with EnerSys (NYSE:ENS) CEO John Craig:

TWST: Would you give us a brief historical sketch of the company and a picture of the things you're doing at the present time?

Mr. Craig: We are in the industrial battery business. The primary markets that we serve are telecommunications, UPS, industrial fork trucks, and military business. We started as far back as Thomas Edison, who was involved originally with one of the businesses. Exide Corporation owned the industrial battery business. Then in 1991, Yuasa Corporation from Japan acquired that. And then in 2000, the management team along with Morgan Stanley Capital Partners did a buyout from Yuasa of the Americas business. The company had roughly $400 million in revenue at that time.

Sixteen months after we did the first acquisition, we then acquired the Hawker division from Invensys, which was roughly $600 million in size. Both of those businesses were industrial batteries. The Hawker business was primarily in Europe with some operations in the Americas and Asia, while the original company from Yuasa was primarily in the North American market. So when we completed that second transaction in March 2002, our revenue was approximately $1 billion in size. At that time, we became the largest industrial battery company in the world. Since then, we have grown revenue to about $1.3 billion.

We are one of the few companies in our industry today that is profitable. The reason that the others are not profitable is because commodity costs have gone up so high. We have been able to offset a lot of commodity costs through cost savings and just by reducing our overall cost structure. Today, we are highly focused on taking quality market share. We've picked up approximately four points of market share in the last two years. We are at 28% market share globally. About 53% of our
business is in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; about 6% of our business is in Asia; and then the balance is in North America.

TWST: Are you looking ahead to further acquisitions? If so, what do you look for in an acquisition?

Mr. Craig:
There are a number of things that we're currently looking at. Obviously, I cannot discuss the specifics on any one of them, but our acquisition strategy is highly focused on a couple of key areas. The first one of those areas is vertical integration. We have completed a couple of small acquisitions where we bought steel tray manufacturing companies.

One of those was in northern Prague in the Czech Republic. We also bought one in Sumter, South Carolina. Those acquisitions produce the steel trays or boxes, if you will, that the motor power batteries fit into. So vertical integration is one step. The second one is to look for what I'm going to call synergy players, and those are industrial battery companies that are in the same business, but in different markets. We either pick up a brand name, or in some instances, we just want to buy up the manufacturing capacity. We have completed a number of those. FIAMM is one that we completed last year, with roughly $90
million in revenue. As I mentioned, there are a couple that we are looking at right now.

Along with that, we also are looking for cost savings in low-cost manufacturing areas. We have some things going on right now where we're looking at further expanding our market share in Eastern Europe and in China. Today, we have two plants in China. Our plants are 100% loaded, with roughly 800 employees. We feel that there are more opportunities for expansion in that particular market. The other area for acquisition is in aerospace and defense. We do a lot of business with aerospace and defense around the globe. There are roughly 28 countries that we do business with. We make everything from submarine batteries to tactical vehicle batteries, which would be for army tanks, Humvees, and so on. Airplane batteries are for the jet fighters like F-16s, F-18s, and stealth planes. They are also for commercial aircraft like 777 Boeing jets, which our battery is in also. And so we are looking for acquisitions in those areas. Just recently, we announced that we completed an acquisition of a lithium battery business from a company by the name of ATK. Those batteries are used in munitions, missiles, and that type of application.