RS buys industrial automation distributor in Mexico for $275m

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By Nick Flaherty

London-based distributor RS is to buy Risoul, a family-owned distributor of industrial and automation product and services in Mexico in a deal worth $275m.

The acquisition of Risoul is part of the RS strategy to expand its geographic reach and benefits from the drive to bring supply chains closer to production, so called nearshoring.

The market in Mexico is a highly fragmented, but Risoul has almost 50 years of operational knowledge and automation expertise. It is the largest authorised Rockwell Automation distributor in Latin America and the tenth globally, with rights to distribute Rockwell’s products in the main industrial areas of Mexico. It has also recently launched into Spain.

Risoul also provides onsite product training, control board and panel assembly, air conditioning maintenance, specialist tool repair and a smart network infrastructure service.

Risoul is led by Gerardo Ayala Guarneri, who has been with the company for 18 years, the last five as CEO. The company generated revenue of $166m with profits of $19m last year.

“The Rockwell model has helped build our business and reputation in our market. It is not just about selling products; we are also providing value-added product and service solutions that help customers run their businesses,” said Guarneri. “Our product specialists and sales engineers, who have a great deal of commercial and technical knowledge and experience, can recommend and install efficient and productive processes and technology. RS Group brings extensive digital expertise, strong execution knowledge and global support, allowing us to extend our customer reach and accelerate the growth ambitions of our winning Risoul model.”

Over recent months, revenue growth has been held back due to interruptions in supply which has led to an increased order book which should unwind over the next twelve months, says RS. The deal is expected to complete by November, subject to customary closing conditions including Mexican anti-trust.

“We are accelerating our organic growth with bolt-on acquisitions that meet our key strategic, financial and cultural criteria,” said Lindsley Ruthm CEO of the RS Group. “Risoul enables RS to expand our position and execution expertise in the Americas, specifically in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, and drive cross-selling synergies across our product and service solutions offer. As part of RS Group, Risoul will benefit from our digital capabilities and international scale, providing an opportunity to expand beyond its existing strengths, while creating new capabilities.”

Rockwell Automation welcomed RS Group to its partner network as part of the deal.

“Rockwell is delighted to expand its partnership with RS Group into Mexico. We are confident that the pairing of RS Group’s omni-channel capabilities with Risoul’s established strengths with Rockwell Automation solutions will represent a winning formula,” said Ariel Burztein, market access director for Latin America at Rockwell Automation.

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