Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. claims it reached No. 2 in global drip and sprinkler irrigation systems with two U.S. acquisitions.
Jain, based in Jalgaon, India, paid $21.5 million in cash Feb. 15 for Aquarius Brands Inc. of Ontario, Calif. Jain also disclosed that it bought Chapin Watermatics Inc. of Watertown, N.Y., last May for $6 million in cash and debt.
Jain makes a range of plastic irrigation products and has pioneered their application in India. Aquarius' product line includes fittings, filters, air vents, tubing and emitters, mostly made from linear low density polyethylene and engineering resins at its plants in Ontario and Fresno, Calif., and in Haines City, Fla. Chapin specializes in drip tape.
The firm's drip and sprinkler irrigation product sales are now about $130 million per year, Aquarius President Dave Abrams said in a telephone interview. The only larger player in the market is Netafim Ltd. of Tel Aviv, Israel, which Abrams said has estimated drip irrigation sales of about $200 million to $250 million per year.
Abrams said he hopes Aquarius can take advantage of India's low labor costs to have some labor-intensive products made there, but he suspects the majority of Aquarius' products are too bulky or need too short a response time to be made in India for North American sales.
``Certainly there isn't going to be any wholesale shift to India,'' he said. He added it is too early to speculate whether Aquarius may consolidate its U.S. manufacturing. Aquarius logged sales of about $30 million last year.
``With this acquisition we have a firm foothold in one of the largest markets for the irrigation business and access to the latest technology for irrigation components,'' said Managing Director Anil Jain in a news release.
Jain's other businesses include sheet, profiles and foodstuffs. Jain Americas Inc. has an office in Columbus, Ohio.