Bosch Rexroth announced that company officials have signed an agreement to sell its global pneumatics business to Triton Advisers Ltd., a European investment group. Bosch Rexroth has been developing its pneumatics business to gain market share beyond factory automation. Bosch Rexroth officials announced as early as February 2012 that it wanted to sell its pneumatics business to open additional, long-term growth opportunities beyond factory automation, a key sector for the company. Finalization of the sale is pending approval by antitrust authorities.

     Bosch Rexroth Pneumatics employs about 2,100 people worldwide, including manufacturing sites in Lexington, Ky., Laatzen, Germany, Wujin, China, Eger, Hungary, and Bonneville, France. It has been operating as a stand-alone business unit within Bosch Rexroth since June 2013.

 Dr. Karl Tragl, president of Bosch Rexroth, Lohr, Germany, commented, “Triton has extensive experience successfully positioning small and medium-sized companies. With this acquisition, we are taking the next consistent and logical step toward ensuring the successful further development of our pneumatics business.”

     Peder Prahl, director of the General Partner of Triton Funds, expressed his optimism about the acquisition of the Bosch Rexroth pneumatics business: “Rexroth Pneumatics has the potential to benefit from market growth driven by an increasing global trend towards automation. We are confident that focused investment will enable the company to operate successfully as a stand-alone entity.” Founded in 1997, Triton is dedicated to investing in medium-size businesses headquartered in Northern Europe with a focus on Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

Recent developments

     On April 24 at last year’s Hannover Fair, Dr. Tragl revealed, “Bosch Rexroth optimizes its product portfolio on an ongoing basis and aligns it with the company’s strategy. Over the past years, we have acquired several companies whose technologies round out our portfolio and which tap additional growth opportunities. One example was the acquisition of Hägglunds, a specialist for high-performance drives. On the other hand, we also disinvest areas that no longer fit with our strategy that is focused on markets and industries.

     “The Pneumatics division has been successfully restructured over the past years. We realize, however, that pneumatics, as part of multitechnology solutions, exhibits only a slight degree of differentiation when it comes to our targeted factory-automation industries. At the same time, substantial differentiation and growth opportunities can be found outside the target industries on which we focus, such as medical engineering or heavy industries, or as a supplier for trucks. It, thus, makes sense to check whether there is an environment that is more suitable for pneumatics. We are currently holding negotiations with a potential buyer interested in acquiring Bosch Rexroth’s Pneumatics division.”

     Then on April 9, at this year’s Hannover Fair, Dr. Tragl reiterated these comments and revealed that the pneumatics division of Bosch Rexroth would “operate as an independent company under the umbrella of Bosch Rexroth as of June 1.”

     In a recent phone interview, Larry Foy, Bosch Rexroth marketing director, mentioned that much of the growth for pneumatics lies outside of factory automation — most notably medical devices, the rail industry, and in over-the-road trucking. The sale of the pneumatics division will provide the new business with greater opportunity to grow market share in these sectors.