Consolidations Promise End-User Benefit

A few years back, Measurement Specialties, a pioneer in pressure sensing, gained recognition for an aggressive schedule of acquisitions. More recently, the company established MSI Sensors (www.msisensors.com) as a separate division and echoed history as MSI made four significant acquisitions in 2004. In all cases, the acquired companies note the benefits of being a part of MSI's global operation.

The latest was Humirel (www.humirel.com), in December. With this deal, MSI adds humidity and temperature sensing to its diverse portfolio of technologies for sensing pressure, position, vibration, and force. Based in Toulouse, France, Humirel designs and manufactures sensors and assemblies for humidity and air quality measurement for the automotive, heavy truck, HVAC, and consumer products markets.

MSI purchased Entran (www.entran.com), Encoder Devices (www.encoderdevices.com), and Elekon Industries (www.elekon.com) this past summer. Entran specializes in compact instrumentation to measure static and dynamic pressure, acceleration, and force, offering sensors the size of a pinhead to instruments that can survive a 50,000 g shock. Entran's large engineering, manufacturing, and sales center in Western Europe gives MSI an expanded footprint there, especially in combination with Humirel. Bill Caplan, president and founder of Entran, is excited to join "MSI's MEMS capabilities with Entran's proprietary designs for a new generation of high-performance products."

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Encoder Devices designs and manufactures custom and standard rotational sensors (encoders) for applications such as flow control, medical, aerospace, transportation, military, heavy equipment, and motor feedback. Encoder Devices says its magnetic encoding technology, made possible by advances in custom ASIC fabrication, enables a modular engine that can be packaged to meet the technical and cost requirements of virtually any application.

Elekon, acquired in June, now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of MSI. The company specializes in optoelectronics (custom and standard), including narrow-band emitters and detectors for medical applications, high-speed receivers and emitters for communications products, and x-ray detection systems. Elekon plans to add new product lines in the coming months.

In 2003, MSI was the top performer on the AMEX for companies with market capitalizations in excess of $100 million.

Endevco (www.endevco.com), provider of mission-critical sensors for the aerospace, transportation, and medical markets, also joined the acquisitions scene as its parent company, international aerospace, defense, and electronic sensors group Meggitt PLC, agreed recently to acquire Wilcoxon Research, Inc. (www.wilcoxon.com). Wilcoxon will become part of Meggitt's Electronics Division, which Endevco leads.

Wilcoxon has developed and manufactured industrial vibration sensors, accessories, and wireless networks for more than 40 years. Meggitt says that Wilcoxon's product portfolio (which includes low-cost industrial accelerometers and laboratory and test instrumentation) will enhance Endevco's capabilities in sensor design and applications, uniquely positioning it to provide a broad range of high-quality, cost-effective sensors. Endevco President Robert Meyer says the acquisition is "a key element in our growth strategy." Another key element for Endevco, it seems, is growth in Asia.

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