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Panasonic to buy Hussmann for £1 billion as it seeks to grow in refrigeration in US and beyond

Electronics giant Panasonic Corporation has announced its intention to acquire US display case manufacturer Hussmann Corporation as it seeks to expand its display case business beyond Asia and into the rest of the world.


Panasonic, best known in cooling for its air conditioning and heat pump technology said its acquisition of 100 per cent of the shares of Hussmann Group in April 2016 will allow it ‘to expand its display case business and food distribution solutions business in the United States, the biggest market for refrigerated and freezer display cases, as well as countries and regions around the US and further to Australia and New Zealand.”

Missouri-based Hussmann, claimed to be a market leader in all of its current major markets, is a brand with a long history – it was founded in 1906 by Harry Hussmann and made its first display case in 1917. The company, with a workforce of 5,831, is currently two thirds owned by a venture-capital backed management team and one-third owned by diverse industrial conglomerate Ingersoll Rand. The firm has ten production sites, but as much as 30 per cent of its business is in maintenance and installation.

Hussmann’s current management team will stay in place to manage the acquired company under Panasonic’s guidance and the Hussmann name and brand will continue to be used, Panasonic added. Hussmann will serve as the base of Panasonic’s food distribution business in North America and its major markets.

Panasonic said as part of its growth strategy, it is looking to generate sales of c£13.9 billion (2.5 trillion yen) in B2B solutions in 2018, of which £1.67 billion is expected to come from the food distribution solutions business. It said: “The company has been promoting its energy-efficient and environmentally conscious refrigerated and freezer display cases for supermarkets and convenience stores, one of its main products in the food distribution solutions business, mainly in Japan, China and other parts of Asia, and has established its position in those markets. Meanwhile, new approaches have been sought to meet the demands of customers in the US.”

Panasonic said: “This strategic acquisition will enable the combination of Hussmann’s strengths in customer relationship, maintenance and services with Panasonic’s wide-ranging technology and product line-up. Panasonic will use this synergy to drive growth and further innovation on a global basis. Combined the company will be able to leverage core refrigeration product technology and case platforms including Panasonic’s CO2 systems and foodservice products. Other synergy opportunities include LEDs, remote monitoring and other technology platforms, to enhance retail customer’s merchandising and consumer connectivity.”

Panasonic will use its own funds to acquire Hussmann for $1.545 billion dollars the transaction, which is expected to be completed on April 1st 2016, Panasonic Group will own 100 per cent of Hussmann’s shares. The completion of this acquisition is subject to approval from competition authorities in the United States and other countries as required by law.

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