SEAL BEACH — In a move designed to bolster its commercial business, Rockwell International Corp. has acquired Sprecher & Schuh A.G., a Swiss company that is Europe's fourth-largest manufacturer of electronic control devices.
The companies did not divulge financial terms of the purchase. Rockwell said that Sprecher & Schuh, which manufactures starters, circuit breakers and other devices, reported $200 million in 1992 revenue. Sprecher & Schuh's managers will operate the company as part of Rockwell's Milwaukee-based Allen-Bradley subsidiary.
Donald R. Beall, Rockwell's chairman and chief executive, described the acquisition as "a significant step in strengthening Allen-Bradley's worldwide leadership in industrial automation."
The acquisition was the second in recent months for Rockwell, which in January purchased a Sundstrand Corp. division for $225 million. Rockwell merged Sundstrand's Data Control subsidiary in Redmond, Wash., into its own Collins Commercial Avionics operation.
At the time of that acquisition, one industry analyst suggested that Rockwell had been slow to join an industry consolidation that has prompted other large aerospace companies to buy businesses. On Wednesday, analyst Wendy Abramowitz at Argus Research in New York said that Rockwell is "moving at what seems to be a reasonable level. . . . Whether it's fast enough to (balance) cuts in defense spending, only time will tell."
Rockwell, based in Seal Beach, makes a wide range of products in the electronics, industrial automation, aerospace, automotive and graphics industries. While defense business once dominated Rockwell's revenue stream, commercial work now accounts for 60% of its business. Defense contracts generate 25% of its business, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration accounts for the rest.
Sprecher & Schuh has 1,650 employees and 700 distributors worldwide. The company's existing management team will continue to run the operation, Beall said.
Allen-Bradley's president, Don H. Davis, said the acquisition should benefit both companies. Sprecher & Schuh relies heavily on electromechanical designs, he said, while Allen-Bradley's expertise is in solid-state-control logic and communications.