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Kaba Appoints New M&A Head as It Whittles Down List of Targets

Kaba Holding AG, the Swiss maker of high-security locks, named a new head of mergers and acquisitions as the company starts approaching a shortlist of targeted companies.

The company, based in Ruemlang, Switzerland, has about 500 million francs ($547 million) to spend and aims to make its first acquisition by the end of 2013, Chief Executive Officer Riet Cadonau said in an interview yesterday. Chief Operating Officer Frank Belflower will oversee M&A from July 1, following the retirement of Ulrich Wydler.

“Our goal was to have a long list by the end of the 2011 calendar year, and a short list by the end of April, which we have achieved,” Cadonau said. Two banks are helping Kaba with its reshaping, although none have yet been mandated for a specific deal, he added.

Kaba, which sold a door unit for $244 million last year, has a three-prong acquisition strategy. It’s focused on Asia and Latin America as well as products for hotels, teller machines and airport security, and white spots in developed countries where it has lower market share like in Poland, Cadonau said.

The Swiss company, which competes with Assa Abloy AB and Stanley Black & Decker Inc., is seeking to expand its Access + Data Systems division, which generated 580.5 million francs in revenue last year from locks and computerized access equipment. Targets are a mix of public and private companies, the CEO said.

Kaba acquired Moeller Undall Group of Norway in 2011 for 41 million francs.


Belflower’s appointment is part of a reshuffle announced yesterday in which Kaba’s high-margin Industrial Locks segment will be merged into Kaba’s Access + Data Systems division, effective July 1 2012. Creating two distinct divisions -- Access + Data Systems and Key Systems, will improve efficiency, Cadonau said.

“There will be some savings, but our goal is to protect the margin,” he said. The move will help bolster profitability in North America for “years to come,” he said.

Cadonau expects improved sales and marketing performance following the combination, as well as savings in supply chain management. Employee numbers will remain “more or less the same,” he said, declining to say by how much the move would affect profitability.

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