Danaher Buys Marconi

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The owner of tank gauging giant Veeder-Root says it will buy one of the world's leading manufacturers of gasoline dispensers.

Washington-based Danaher Corp. said it would buy Marconi Commerce systems, a maker of retail automation and environmental products and services, for $325 million from beleaguered telecommunications UK outfit Marconi Plc. Marconi Commerce, formerly known as Gilbarco, has annual revenues of about $500 million.

"We are excited about the strategic fit of three of the strongest brands in the industry," said Marconi Systems President David Kaehler. "Gilbarco, Veeder-Root and Red Jacket. Together we will create additional value for customers, including a global presence, advanced technologies, financial stability and a broad platform for the products and services we offer."

Kaehler recently told CSNews that his division continued to remain strong despite serious financial problems with the parent company.

Veeder-Root President Scott Clawson hailed the acquisition, which guarantees Danaher a significant presence in both the underground and aboveground petroleum equipment segment. "Combining Gilbarco and Veeder-Root creates the leading company in the petroleum equipment market with outstanding brands uniquely capable of providing a full range of integrated automation and environmental solutions and services for our retail petroleum customers."

Danaher President H. Lawrence Culp Jr. said Marconi fits naturally in the company's menu of environmental equipment. "Gilbarco represents an excellent and natural adjacency for Danaher's environmental platform and its Veeder-Root business." He added that the move would expedite Veeder-Root's initiatives in vapor recovery at the pump and supply chain management, Culp said.

The sale is the second major one this year in the sluggish pump manufacturing market. In late January, Halliburton Co. agreed to sell its Dresser Equipment Group, which included the Dresser Wayne division, for $1.55 billion in cash and assumed debt.

Marconi Plc. also announced it would sell its stake in a washing machine business for $175 million to Merloni SpA.
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