Barber-Colman Co. will expand its controls product line in North America after its parent company acquires an Italian controls firm. Alan Smith, Barber-Colman's marketing and sales manager for thermal products, said a major impact will be new Barber-Colman controls offerings for commodity resin markets such as packaging. The Loves Park, Ill., firm has been strongest in engineering plastics processing.
Barber-Colman's parent, Siebe plc of Windsor, England, agreed to buy Ero Electronic SpA of Milan, Italy, for 18.5 million ($27.9 million). Ero makes progammable controllers, control components and supervisory systems for industrial thermal process control and heat-treatment applications.
Based on current exchange rates, privately held Ero reported operating profit of $2.7 million on sales of $24.3 million for its fiscal year ended Dec. 31, Siebe said. Ero's net assets were about $12.8 million.
Smith said the Ero deal should add new controllers, calibrators and other items to Barber-Colman's line. It will market them under Barber-Colman brand names. Ero was not directly active in North America but it had brand-name agreements with undisclosed suppliers, he said. The agreements are likely to continue and to be serviced by Ero personnel, he added.
Allen Yurko, Siebe managing director and chief executive officer, said Ero's controllers comply with the latest European Com-munity standards and the firm has a strong presence in Europe.
Ero employs 200 at its Milan headquarters and research and development facility and at two manufacturing plants in Novara and Malta. It will continue to be headed by Pietro Zanazzo, its founder, president and chief executive officer.
Barber-Colman's products in-clude Maco microprocessor-based process control systems for injection and blow molding and extrusion. Ero markets include plastics, furnaces, food and beverage, and chemicals.
Siebe has more than 120 companies around the world in temperature and appliance controls, process automation, building controls, electronic power controls, compressors, auto components, fluid systems and safety equipment.
For the six months ended last Sept. 30, the British group had sales of 1.2 billion ($1.8 million).