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Fairbanks Morse Defense eyes more acquisitions

Welin Lambie, which Fairbanks Morse Defense acquired in 2021, designs and manufactures crane-like davits that launch and recover boats from ships or shore-based installations. (Welin Lambie)

Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD), which has purchased a host of companies during the past 13 months, is still in the acquisition market, according to the US naval supplier's chief executive officer George Whittier.

“We're always talking to folks” about potential acquisitions, Whittier told Janes in an interview. “It won't surprise me if we do a couple more [deals] in 2022.”

FMD is particularly interested in companies that could benefit from its extensive service capabilities. “For example, we wouldn't necessarily buy a company that makes doors or hatches because you don't really do a lot of maintenance on doors and hatches,” Whittier said.

The companies FMD has bought have significantly expanded its portfolio beyond naval engines, as it seeks to become a broad-based provider to its customers. The acquisitions include naval motor provider Ward Leonard, naval valve manufacturer Hunt Valve Company, boat launch and recovery equipment business Welin Lambie, ship maintenance firm Fluid Filtration Specialists, ship elevator manufacturer Federal Equipment Company (FEC), and water treatment systems business Maxim Watermakers.

FMD expects to achieve “synergies” among its acquisitions by integrating their disparate field service technicians and sales personnel, as well as by combining such functions as finance, human resources, information technology, and legal. However, it has no plans to eliminate any of the brand names it has gained.

“Let's just say, for example, we decided to get rid of the Hunt Valve name and say we're Fairbanks Morse Valve or something like that,” Whittier said. “Nobody would know who we are.”

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