trucks launched), engines (
launching a range of Tier 4 final diesels
and buying the largest single stake
in German engine manufacturer
Deutz) or corporate developments.
Among the most interesting moves
was its acquisition of 45% of the subsidiary of China’s Dongfeng Motor
Group Co. Limited (DFG) that incorporates the major part of the DFG’s
medium- and heavy-duty commercial
vehicle business. That move vaulted
Volvo to the upper ranks of the world’s
commercial vehicle manufacturers.
Volvo’s Chinese subsidiary SDLG
made big news when after successful
launches into export markets such as
Latin America, Russia, Oceania, Africa,
same year that Cummins reorganized
its engine business and began an
initiative to increase company ownership in its global distribution network.
Yet for all that activity, Cummins
wasn’t alone in the running for
Newsmaker honors. While it had no
single “kaboom” moment, Generac
made several interesting power generation acquisitions and generated (pun
intended) an awful lot of talk around
the industry (see story below).
It was also a very busy year for
the Volvo Group, which was rarely out of the spotlight either for
its construction equipment (more
than 50 new products launched this
year), commercial vehicles (five new
A Vote For Generac
BY MIKE OSENGA
With apologies and all due respect to our good and many friends at Cummins,
I have to admit I had them second
on my scorecard for the 2013 Diesel
Progress North American Newsmaker
of the Year.
There is little doubt that the folks from
Columbus, Ind. made a ton of news in
2013. It seemed every time we turned
on the computer, or went to a trade
show, some major news was being
announced. And in the end, one of the
major criteria for our Newsmaker of the
Year was who made the most news in
a given calendar year.
But one of the other, maybe less
quantifiable, qualifications for Newsmaker of the Year is buzz; what company are people talking about, asking
us about? And by that standard, my
choice was Generac Holdings Inc.
“What the heck is going on at
Generac?” It was a question we
heard, not only from people in the
electric power generation markets,
but from suppliers, and from other
markets as well.
Generac, our neighbors here in
Waukesha, Wis., was not short on
major news in 2013. To wrap up the
year, the company bought Baldor
Electric’s generator products divi-
sion from the ABB Group, bringing
a range of portable, mobile, standby
and prime power generators ranging
from 3 k W to 2. 5 MW into the fold.
Baldor was a big move for Generac,
a “game changer,” Generac CEO and
President Aaron Jagdfeld called it,
saying that the addition of Baldor
allowed Generac to compete on equal
footing with some of the Tier 1 suppliers in the industry.
In July, Generac made an especially interesting move, adding light
towers with the acquisition of Italy’s
Tower Light Srl. It was an interesting move in that it was not a purely
generator set company, and it was
outside the U.S. and Canada, which
heretofore had accounted for about
98% of Generac’s shipments.
So it certainly seems that Jagdfeld
has his eyes on a more global footprint
for the company. “Tower Light is a great
strategic fit for Generac’s business,
providing an expanded product offer-
ing of light tower generators to support
additional geographic markets beyond
those we serve today,” he said at the
time of the announcement.
In May, the company built its 1 millionth home standby generator set, a
major accomplishment in and of itself.
Prior to this year, Generac had
added the Magnum gen-set range,
the Ottomotores UK Ltd. gen-set
business in Mexico City, as well as
the Gen-Trans controls business.
My vote was largely because this
feels like a company that is really
coming into its own. Generac was
founded in 1959 by Robert Kern. It
was purchased in 2006 by CCMP
Capital, and the company went public in 2010. Today, CCMP is pretty
much out of the picture and Generac
is standing on its own as a publically
The company has more than doubled its revenues since 2010 and
the feeling is Baldor will not be its
last acquisition. This is definitely a
company on the move, and because
of the buzz it created in 2013, got my
vote for Newsmaker of the Year. dp
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