To Consolidate or Not to Consolidate?

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Viessmann and Carrier align; Uponor rebuffs Aliaxis.

Are we seeing a renewed “trend” toward consolidation in the PHVAC industy? Inflation, fuel prices, war, supply chain, electrification, and economy woes are all factors for potential wholesale changes. Over the past month, there has been heavy movement in the industry to suggest such a thing. In a week that saw big movement, we learned recently that two major players in the PHVAC industry have been active in talks.

Carrier, Viessmann, Viessmann Climate Solutions, HVAC, boilers, air conditioning, energy efficiency, electrification, heat pumps

The first, just officially confirmed, Carrier will acquire Viessmann Climate Solutions, the largest segment of Viessmann Group, in a cash and stock transaction valued at €12 billion, subject to working capital and other adjustments. According to the release, Viessmann Climate Solutions provides Carrier with an iconic, premium brand in the highest growth segment of the global heat pump and energy transition markets. In addition, Carrier announced plans to exit its Fire & Security and Commercial Refrigeration cabinet businesses.

“The acquisition of Viessmann Climate Solutions is a game-changing opportunity,” said Carrier Chairman & CEO David Gitlin. “Climate change, sustainability requirements and geopolitical factors are driving an unprecedented energy transition in Europe. Accelerated by government regulations and incentives, the transition creates a significant, long-term growth opportunity.

“Viessmann Climate Solutions is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity with its premier brand, highly differentiated distribution channel and innovative product offerings. With 70% of its business consisting of heat pumps and related accessories, solar PV, batteries and services, Viessmann Climate Solutions is a critical leader in Europe’s energy transition. We look forward to welcoming its 11,000 team members to the Carrier family and Max Viessmann, CEO of Viessmann to the Carrier Board of Directors at closing, which is expected around the end of 2023.

Carrier, Viessmann, Viessmann Climate Solutions, HVAC, boilers, air conditioning, energy efficiency, electrification, heat pumps

But a recent announcement from Viessmann found on LinkedIn read, “the new transatlantic partnership underlines the importance of international, cross-border collaboration in the fight against global climate change. Both companies are fully committed to take more responsibility for a sustainable energy transition in the building sector, focusing on our purposes: Viessmann Group’s purpose is to co-create living spaces for generations to come. Carrier’s vision is to create solutions that matter for people and our planet. We both regard the climate goals in North America and Europe as a once-in-a-century opportunity to make a positive impact, by actively shaping sustainable climate and energy solutions for future generations.

“The Viessmann Group will continue to remain an independent family business in full ownership of the Viessmann entrepreneurial family. Today, the Viessmann Group—excluding its Climate Solutions business area—generates a total revenue of EUR 1 billion in sales—including non-consolidated entities—with around 4,000 employees. Looking ahead, the clear goal and ambition of the Viessmann Group is to grow to a size that is larger than the Climate Solutions business area today, latest by the end of the decade.”

How does this affect contractors? The Hub’s Eric Aune, who is an ardent Viessmann installer, was sent this message: By combining Viessmann Climate Solutions and Carrier, we are co-creating one of the leading climate solutions companies in the world. Through the combination of both companies, we are forming a resilient, fast-growing innovation leader in a highly competitive market environment. All partners and customers of Viessmann Climate Solutions will significantly benefit from this new partnership:

  1. Viessmann Climate Solutions’ premium integrated offering will be complemented by electrified products and services from Carrier and its sub brands (heat pumps, battery storages, cooling and ventilation solutions as well as after-sales-services, digital and value-added solutions). This will lead to a wider product range for you.
  2. Viessmann Climate Solutions will get better access to suppliers via the global network of Carrier, especially its subsidiary Toshiba Carrier Corporation in Asia. This will lead to a faster delivery for you, in the long run. Thereby, you can significantly shorten your time to installation completion—a decisive component for the decarbonization of the building stock both in Europe and beyond.
  3. The iconic brand of Viessmann will be continued. All your respective contact persons at Viessmann will remain in charge. The Climate Solutions Executive Board and leadership team of Viessmann Climate Solutions, led by CEO Thomas Heim will continue to run the business. Viessmann Climate Solutions will become a major driver of Carrier’s growth strategy in Europe. Its headquarters will remain in Allendorf, Germany. The Viessmann Group will become one of the largest shareholders in Carrier. Consequently, Viessmann Group CEO Max Viessmann will become a new member of the Board of Directors of Carrier.

Meanwhile, according to an industry insider close to Mechanical Hub, Putin’s iron grip on the fuel supply in Europe could be a contributing factor to sell now. And, will Viessmann alter its path to market? One observer asked, “Will it be through the DCNE wholesale network?” We will see how things shake out in the next few weeks to months.

PEX Power

On the piping side, there have been tremors of a major shake-up in the PEX world. But all for naught, it turns out. Mechanical Hub has learned that Belgian company Aliaxis, a manufacturer of advanced fluid management solutions—with IPEX already a part of the company—had approached Uponor in its interest to sell. According to information acquired by Mechanical Hub, Aliaxis had announced a non-binding intention to make a tender offer to acquire all shares in Uponor.

Finland’s Uponor said on Wednesday (4/26/23), it rejected an unsolicited offer from Belgian rival Aliaxis, adding that the suggested price of 25 euros per share did not reflect the company’s value and long-term prospects.

According to Reuters and from sources within Uponor, the company’s board unanimously rejected the offer, but said it would consider any further proposals made by Aliaxis or any other party, if it was in the best interest of its shareholders.

Aliaxis last Monday made a $2 billion unsolicited offer to buy Uponor, seeking to form a global water management group, and the following Monday raised its stake in the Finnish company to 10.6%.

Oras Invest, Uponor’s largest shareholder with about 25.7% of the company’s shares, said on the day Aliaxis made its unsolicited offer that it had no intention of accepting it.