FAIRLAWN, Ohio — Continental on Thursday announced its acquisition of Wahpeton, North Dakota, family-owned belting manufacturer WCCO Belting.
The company said the acquisition would complement its conveyor belting customer portfolio and strengthen its Conveying Solutions business in the agricultural industry. Additionally, equipment manufacturers, distributors, dealers and farmers will benefit from a combined product and service portfolio generating a full, multi-tier offering that will enable better support and service.
“This strategic acquisition is a threefold perfect fit: portfolio, sales market and people. Moreover, we continue our transformation towards a holistic solutions provider in one of the growing industries, namely the off-highway industry,” said Philip Nelles, a member of Continental’s executive board and head of the ContiTech Group Sector.
Both parties have agreed not to disclose the terms of the transaction.
Focus on growing agricultural industry
Fueled by the mega-trend of global population growth, protein demand and climate change-induced crop pressure, Continental expects global demand for food and feed will continue to rise and change in the coming decades. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, FReSH insight report and the Boston Consulting Group estimate that the trend is also based on global rapid population growth in the global middle class: with nearly 5 billion people in 2030, their share will have increased almost five-fold over the past three decades. With a much larger global population, rising living standards, and a change in attitudes toward nutrition, transparency, and sustainability, dietary habits are becoming more diverse and demanding worldwide.
That’s why Continental’s ContiTech Group Sector continues to focus on growing their share in the agricultural industry. With three-fourths of WCCO’s business in the agricultural industry the acquisition underlines the company’s commitment. WCCO’s product portfolio has a strong market position, serves a complementary customer base, and enjoys a favorable global reputation. Additionally, combining both product portfolios generate a full multi-tier offering that enables better support to manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and farmers.
“We intend to leverage and grow our manufacturing capability to elevate Continental’s opportunity in this area and to offer complete technical solutions to manufacturers and distributors with the goal to improve profitability and speed to market with new innovations and products,” said Jim Hill, head of the group sector’s North American business. Song Qi, head of ContiTech’s Conveying Solutions Business Area, added that Continental will boost sales of high value specialty belts in the global marketplace, as well as make use of Continental's global sales team to further expand WCCO Belting’s business outside of the Americas.
“We are all delighted to welcome you, the experienced and dedicated WCCO employees, to our Continental team," Hill said. "I am convinced that we will learn from each other and grow together to best serve our customers’ needs. We both, Continental and WCCO, are striving for excellence and focus on a customer centric approach which unites us.”
Established in 1954, WCCO Belting has more than 300 employees. It manufactures and distributes farm machinery applications, such as draper belts, baler belts, pickup belts, tube conveyor belts, merger belts, as well as industrial belt applications for material and package handling, recycling, forestry, and aggregates.
“We perfectly fit to Continental as we share the same passion for our industries," said WCCO President and CEO Tom Shorma. "Everything we do is to better support our current and prospective customers’ needs based on our longstanding experience and with our team’s dedication contributing to the process of creating custom rubber products that impact businesses across the world. We are very much looking forward to our future common path."
The company distributes to more than 20 countries. WCCO Belting is known for its belting innovation, which helps meet the unique needs of its customers around the world. By designing each product according to the operational requirements of a specific application, the belts consistently outperform the industry standard in numerous product segments. This effectively lowers the total cost of ownership of equipment for operators.
Continental has and will continue to play a pioneering role in the modernization of agriculture, also as an experienced and reliable partner in the transformation toward Farm 2030. It all began with motorization and today extends to digitalization and automation, which is associated with a substantial increase in productivity and crop yields.