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Battery maker EnerSys buys Purcell for $115 million

Wed., Oct. 16, 2013

EnerSys, which bills itself as the largest industrial battery manufacturer in the world, has purchased Spokane Valley-based Purcell Systems for $115 million.

Launched in 2000, privately held Purcell Systems makes weather-resistant, backup outdoor power enclosures for electronic equipment, such as telecommunications towers and utility communications systems.

The transaction gives EnerSys, based in Reading, Pa., the opportunity to provide a product line for customers it hasn’t targeted before. Its primary focus has been making and selling industrial-grade batteries for many different industries.

“Adding the products made by Purcell Systems gives us a way to move up the supply chain and offer our customers more options,” said EnerSys President and CEO John D. Craig.

The sale will not affect the size or focus of the Spokane Valley operation, said Barry Kantner, vice president and general manager of Purcell Systems. “We will continue to operate lean and efficiently,” he said.

“We expect to operate as an independent subsidiary of EnerSys,” he said.

Craig said he hopes the purchase helps Purcell Systems grow even larger.

“As we use the sales teams of EnerSys to market Purcell Systems products, we could see growth occurring (in Spokane),” Craig said.

Craig said a key reason for EnerSys’s interest was the solid performance and the strong company management he found at Purcell Systems.

The Spokane Valley operation has about 150 full-time workers, Kantner said.

Sales in 2012 came to roughly $100 million.

The company was started by Pete Chase, William Miller and George Thompson. In 2004 the company attracted an investment of $16.6 million from private equity firm Weston Presidio based in San Francisco. Weston Presidio became the company’s majority shareholder.

Chase, Thompson and Miller all left the company before the sale to EnerSys.

Publicly traded EnerSys, which has about 10,000 workers globally, reported fiscal 2012 revenues of $2.2 billion.

It sells products to more than 10,000 customers in more than 100 countries through a network of distributors, independent representatives and its internal sales force.

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