IEN: Mr Abgrall, roughly one year ago, the two well-established companies Haydon and Kerk Motion Products joined brands. What were the reasons for this merger?
Abgrall: Haydon shareholders were looking for acquisition opportunities to consolidate Haydon's dominant position in precision linear actuators based on stepper motors. Kerk Motion Products, which had a similar in position in precision lead screws, linear guides and slides was the ideal candidate. Two world leaders in their respective business were merging with unique complementarities, not only in their portfolios but also in their manufacturing capabilities.
IEN: Since the two companies still have their two different locations in the US: Does it ''only'' mean joining two hitherto separate products portfolios, or is it actually merging two companies?
Abgrall: It is actually merging two companies. Most functions are now common: management, research & development, marketing and sales. The manufacturing sites have kept their specificities: lead screw rolling and nut molding for Kerk; motors, actuators and systems for Haydon.
IEN: After one year of experience in joining brands, what are the main benefits for your customers?
Abgrall: within less than 12 months the new company has launched an incredible number of new products that would have taken years to develop as separate entities, if at all possible given the patents that both companies had in their respective businesses. To simplify one could say that the traditional Kerk customers can now get motorized versions of Kerk's products and that the traditonal Haydon customers have seen the number of available actuator configurations multiplied by four or five within a few months, thanks to Kerk's unique range of lead screws and molding capabilities.
IEN: Most recently you released the first comprehensive HaydonKerk catalogue. Did the products like the linear actuators or the precision lead screws keep their original brand names, or did they get ne-named?
Abgrall: Although we are now selling under the unique commercial name Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions, we have kept the original brand names: Kerk for precision lead screws, linear guides, spline shafts, and Haydon for motorized products.
IEN: What are the main areas of application for HaydonKerk Motion Solutions?
Abgrall: The main area of applications are medical instrumentation, laboratory automation, semiconductor fabrication, special machinery for marking, labeling, packaging, etc. Our products are also replacing solenoids, pneumatic cylinders or valves in a number of applications where better control and accuracy is required.
IEN: How do you distribute your products in Europe?
Abgrall: We have HaydonKerk offices in Germany and France. We also have distributors in most European countries.
IEN: As the joining of brands seems to be an evolutionary process: What will be the next step?
Abgrall: We will keep looking at acquisition opportunities both in America and in Europe to further reinforce our leading position in precision linear motion products, while capitalizing on the organic growth potential of the merger between Haydon and Kerk
IEN: Mr. Abgrall, thank you for the interview.
Facts & Figures
Founded: Haydon: 1951
Kerk Motion Products: 1976
Headquarters: Waterbury, CT, U.S.A.
European Headquarters: Coueron, France
Main products: Linear actuators, leadscrews and nuts, stepper motors,drives, linear rails, guides and splines