Danfoss plans White spin-off and sale

By Mike Brezonick27 January 2021

Danfoss Power Solutions will establish White Drive Motors & Steering, whose main North American facility is in Hopkinsville, Ky., as a separate business unit in advance of selling it in order to complete its acquisition of Eaton Hydraulics.

Just under five years after it was acquired by Danfoss, what was once White Drive Products will shortly be looking for a new home.

Danfoss Power Solutions (DPS) announced it is establishing White Drive Motors & Steering as a stand-alone business unit with the intention of preparing an immediate sale of the business. This, DPS said, is a necessary step to get the regulatory approvals needed to close its pending acquisition of the Eaton Hydraulics business.

Danfoss first announced its agreement to acquire Eaton Hydraulics for $3.3 billion in early 2020.

“When we signed the agreement to purchase Eaton Hydraulics, we were aware that there could be some aspects from a competition standpoint, that involve discussions with the authorities, with respect to the approval process,” said Eric Alström, president, Danfoss Power Solutions. “The results of the investigations in the European Commission and the U.S. Dept. of Justice now require us to divest part of the business, in order to ensure approval.

“The Eaton Hydraulics acquisition is a major game changer for Danfoss. We will unite two of the key global players in hydraulics, creating the broadest offering of products, huge innovation power, robust distribution channels and tremendous geographic reach. We now look forward to completing the process with the authorities and receiving these necessary regulatory approvals.”

The new White Drive Motors & Steering business unit will be effective Feb. 1, and will include operations and products at three Danfoss locations in Hopkinsville, Ky.; Wroclaw, Poland; and Parchim, Germany.

In 2016, Danfoss purchased what was then White Drive Products, a deal celebrated by Danfoss Power Solutions President Eric Alström (right) and Hollis White, founder of White Drive Products.

After closing the Eaton Hydraulics acquisition, the new business is expected to also include product lines from Eaton Hydraulics – two product lines from Shawnee, Oklahoma, U.S.; and one from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, U.S. The product lines will be moved, along with some equipment from Eaton’s plant in Searcy, Ark. Altogether, this includes approximately 800 employees.

“We are committed to finding a good home for the new stand-alone business and we will work closely with the new owner to ensure a smooth transition for all employees, customers and distribution partners,” said Alström.

White Drive Motors & Steering maintains an extensive portfolio of orbital motor and steering products, as well as the required market share coverage to play a significant role in the mobile hydraulics industry, DPS said.

The original White Drive Products, Inc. was founded in 1976 by Harvey and Hollis White, Jr., and at the time of its acquisition by Danfoss, the company had more than 700 employees and reported sales of approximately $100 in 2015. It maintained manufacturing facilities in Hopkinsville and Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China, as well as sales and distribution offices in the U.S., China and Europe.

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