Geberit buys Chicago Faucet

SPECIAL to CONTRACTOR DES PLAINES, ILL. Switzerland-based Geberit Group acquired 100% of the shares of the Chicago Faucet Co., located here, effective July 9. The purchase price was $33.3 million, paid in Geberit stock and cash. Chicago Faucets 400 employees in four manufacturing plants in Des Plaines; Milwaukee; Elyria, Ohio; and Huntsville, Ala., will stay in place as will most of the companys upper

SPECIAL to CONTRACTOR

DES PLAINES, ILL. — Switzerland-based Geberit Group acquired 100% of the shares of the Chicago Faucet Co., located here, effective July 9. The purchase price was $33.3 million, paid in Geberit stock and cash.

Chicago Faucet’s 400 employees in four manufacturing plants in Des Plaines; Milwaukee; Elyria, Ohio; and Huntsville, Ala., will stay in place as will most of the company’s upper management, said Scott Farrisee, vice president/operations for Geberit’s U.S. division, based in Michigan City, Ind.

Former President Alan Lougee will not remain with the company. Keith Kramer is president and CEO of Geberit North America, including the Chicago Faucet operation.

Chicago Faucet, best known for its commercial faucets and fittings, generated sales of $70 million in fiscal year 2001. The company celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2001.

“Helping Geberit to penetrate the commercial market will be a big part of the acquisition,” Farrisee told CONTRACTOR. “Chicago Faucet is probably 90% commercially oriented in the faucet area. Geberit is introducing two new commercial products – an infrared urinal flush valve and pressure-assisted in-wall toilet system. This will allow us to offer a complete package in a commercial restroom. We don’t do china, but we can make that available.”

Richard O’Reagan, senior vice president/sales and marketing for Chicago Faucet added: “There’s little overlap in our products; they’re very complementary. This is a great opportunity to bring a better package to the market.”

Chicago Faucet will retain its name in the marketplace, although it will be identified as a Geberit company with the new owner’s logo, Farrisee said. Chicago Faucet’s sales and distribution network, which Geberit views as a strength, also will remain in place.

“Their brand name is beneficial to us and our products, and so are their stocking distributors that are commercially focused,” Farrisee said. “Most of our distributors are in the residential end.”

In turn, Geberit is hoping that its U.S. distributors help increase sales of Chicago Faucet’s residential products, he added.

Geberit’s U.S. operation did almost $12 million in revenue last year with a mix of 80% residential and 20% commercial sales, Farrisee said. Its single largest product category in this country is its cable bath waste and overflow. Geberit employs about 70 people in its Michigan City sales and manufacturing facility, where plastic injection molding and assembly takes place.

Worldwide Geberit has sales of $700 million, balanced between the commercial market and the residential. The company employs 4,600 people.

According to a statement from Geberit’s corporate office, “The Geberit Group will combine its existing product line with Chicago Faucet’s line to form a broader range of offerings to the commercial plumbing market.”